Identifying the factors impacting on farmers' intention to adopt animal friendly practices.Prev Vet Med. 2019 Oct 01; 170:104718.PV
Brazil, one of the leading countries in livestock production, has not yet developed legislation considering animal welfare issues and most of the actions to improve farm animal welfare (FAW) standards are developed by livestock industries and government focusing in meet the demands of exporting countries. Such actions resulted in FAW protocols and manuals for adoption of best management practices. In this context, farmers' decisions are of particular importance as they may comply with current FAW protocols or even decide to provide better FAW standards than required. A present example of farmers' decisions to provide better FAW standards than required by FAW protocols is in the adoption of environmental enrichment in pig farming. This practice is widely available to pig farmers, however, anecdotal evidence shows that the adoption rate is low. This study uses the theory of planned behavior (TPB) as a framework to identify the socio-psychological factors that influence pig farmers' intention to adopt environmental enrichment on their farms. The TPB hypothesizes that intention is determined by three psychological constructs: attitude, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control. These three constructs are derived from behavioral, normative, and control beliefs, respectively. Self-identity was added as an additional construct to explain intention. A survey with 185 farmers was conducted. We used Partial-Least-Square Structural Equation Modeling (PLS-SEM) to identify the impact of attitude, subjective norms, perceived behavioral control, and self-identity on farmers' intention to adopt environmental enrichment on their farms. We used MIMIC models to identify the most important beliefs underlying farmers' intention to adopt environmental enrichment in their farms. Results show that the intention of farmers to adopt was mainly determined by their positive perceptions about their own capability to adopt environmental enrichment (perceived behavioral control), followed by their perceptions about the social pressure to adopt it (subjective norms), their positive evaluations of adoption (attitude), and self-identity. The most important behavioral beliefs were 'increase productivity', and 'decrease animals stress'. The most important normative beliefs were 'family', 'neighbor farmers', 'pig buyers', and 'experts'. The most important control belief was 'receive bonus when selling pigs'. These results revealed important implications to design public and private interventions aimed to stimulate the adoption of animal friendly practices.