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Calf welfare views and dairy consumption habits of parents compared with their children.

R. Perttu

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06-23-2020

Abstract:

223
Calf welfare views and dairy consumption habits of parents compared with their children.
R. Perttu*, B. Ventura, M. Endres. Department of Animal Science, University of Minnesota St. Paul, MN.

The objective of this study was to explore views of dairy calf welfare and dairy product consumption habits among American parent/child pairs. Parents and their children (n = 188 pairs) independently completed a mixed-methods survey administered in-person at the Minnesota State Fair. The survey included a series of multiple-choice questions related to demographics, an open-ended question on ‘what dairy calves need to have a good life', and multiple-choice questions about participants' consumption of dairy products and plant-based beverages. Content analysis was used for responses to the open-ended question, and themes were created to describe calf welfare values. The relationship between parent and child responses to the question on ‘what dairy calves need to have a good life' and the questions on consumption habits were investigated using Cohen's Kappa analysis. Median age range of the parent participants was 34—44 yr, 70% were female, 79% urban residents, 82% did not have prior experience with agricultural animals, and 71% had visited a farm. For children, the median age of participants was 10 yr, 63% were female, 79% were urban residents, 60% did not have prior experience with agricultural animals, and 82% had visited a farm. In response to ‘what dairy calves need to have a good life', parent participants mentioned themes related to biological functioning (80% of respondents), followed by natural living (62%), humane care (26%), and affective state (3%). Children participants mentioned elements related to biological functioning (91%), followed by natural living (55%), humane care (34%), and affective state (5%). The parent/child relationship was associated with natural living (Kappa = 0.21; P = 0.004; overall agreement = 61%). In addition, the parent/child relationship was a factor for predicting the consumption of plant-based beverages (Kappa = 0.14; P = 0.05; overall agreement = 57%). It appears that parents and children are influencing each other mostly on views related to natural living of calves. However, we suggest that elements related to biological functioning, such as feed, water, shelter, were considered essential to the welfare of dairy calves by the majority of participants.

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Biography: Rielle Perttu is a research and teaching assistant in the Department of Animal Science, advised by Dr. Marcia Endres. Rielle recently completed her master's degree in animal welfare and behavior and is currently working towards her PhD. Rielle's research focuses on public attitudes toward dairy calf welfare among adults and youth, fly avoidance behaviors of dairy cows on pasture, and the relationship between calf health and feeding behavior collected by autofeeder software. Rielle serves on the Diversity and Inclusion Committee for the Department of Animal Science and the Student Services Fee Committee for the Office of Student Affairs.