Consumers Increasingly Concerned About Environmental Issues Related to Agriculture

by 5m Editor
5 March 2007, at 12:24pm

CANADA - The latest "Canadian Consumer Attitudes Towards Pork Production Survey" shows the environment has emerged as the second most import issue on the minds of Canadians, topped only by concerns related to food safety, writes Bruce Cochrane.


Since 1999 Ispsos Reid has tracked the attitudes of non-farming Canadians toward agriculture, primarily hog farming.

The latest survey, conducted last July, questioned just over 21 hundred consumers about issues related to food safety, the environmental impact of hog farming, the care and treatment of hogs and genetic modification of hogs.

Vice president agribusiness, food and animal health Dr. Susan Jones says the most dramatic finding over the years has been the emergence of environmental concerns related to hog farming.

Dr. Susan Jones-Ispsos Reid

The difference that we in 2006 is environmental issues are far far more top of mind than they used to be and I don't think this is necessarily specific to the hog industry.

We all know that, for a variety of reasons, people are thinking and talking more about the environment and we saw this very clearly in our study.

A majority of Canadians believe that hog farming fundamentally is somewhat unfriendly to the environment.

They're more aware of and more concerned about environmental issues in general.

In 2006 we saw a growth of people that were unsure whether the environmental impact of hog farming is positive or negative and what that tells us is when people are unsure you can be pushed either way.

So I think the important thing for our industry is now is not the time to let up in terms of communications about the hog industry, about environmental regulations and about environmental safeguards because people are highly aware and there's a lot of people that just aren't knowledgeable or aren't sure about the impact of the hog industry.

Dr. Jones notes the survey, which was conducted on behalf of pork producers in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, will be used primarily in developing communications strategies directed toward non-farming Canadians.

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