The Role of Livestock Production Ethics in Consumer Values Towards Meat

M. G. McEachern, M. J.A. Schróder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Citations (Scopus)


This study examines the specific values held by consumers towards organic and conventionally produced meat, with particular reference to moral issues surrounding food animal production. A quota sample of 30 females from both a rural and an urban area of Scotland (UK), were interviewed. Overall, there was low commitment towards the purchase of organic meats and little concern for ethical issues. Price and product appearance were the primary meat selection criteria, the latter being used as a predictor of eating quality. Many attitude-behavior anomalies were identified, mainly as a result of respondents cognitive dissonance and lack of understanding regarding meat production criteria underpinning meat quality marks, e.g., Soil Association label. Responsibilities for ethical issues appeared to be delegated by the consumer to the meat retailer or government. This raises issues about educating consumers and bringing consumers closer to understanding meat production systems. A conceptual framework is proposed that illustrates the significance of consumer involvement in how meat-purchasing decisions are approached in terms of the evaluation of tangible and or intangible quality attributes. The results also point to the need for further research into those aspects of quality that individuals tend to address at the level of the citizen (law), rather than at the point of purchase.

Original languageEnglish
Article number396882
Pages (from-to)221-237
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2002
Externally publishedYes


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