What do people know about the poultry sector?

What do people know about the poultry sector? Little or nothing. And what they think they know rarely belongs to reality.

Unfortunately, in order to convince the masses of anything, it is not necessary to provide rational arguments: it is enough to repeat the same statements over and over again, exaggerating and painting the reality one wants to oppose in dark colours. It is also a method used to create a climate of fear and hostility towards those who are regarded as ‘an enemy’ only because they do not think as we would like.

It is no coincidence that it is widely used by anti-poultry farming activists.

All of us are exposed to a great deal of information, often unverified or distorted, which influences our opinions and choices, prompting us to identify mainly with like-minded groups in an attempt to exclude or oppose those who think differently, effectively creating obstacles to dialogue and confrontation. Developing our critical sense, verifying sources, confronting different points of view and maintaining our autonomy and responsibility are ‘the cure’ to break out of the ‘prison of ignorance’.


What do people really know about animal welfare?


Animal welfare is held in high regard both by Europeans in general and by the European Commission. However, few people are aware that over the past 50 years the regulations put in place have made the lives of farm animals better and better than half a century ago, when there was not the awareness of today either on the part of the poultry system or of those who nowadays rage against poultry farming, and certainly the studies and research that the industry now constantly carries out were not yet available.


In the European Union, animal welfare is guaranteed by specific laws, which protect animals bred for the production of food, wool or fur, and the European Commission is in the process of adapting animal welfare legislation to bring it in line with the latest scientific evidence and to facilitate enforcement and thus an increasing level of animal welfare, which in the E.U. is among the highest in the world


In order to find out what people think about animal welfare, frequent surveys are carried out and from these come up with curious data: it turns out that people demand higher welfare standards, but it emerges that the same people know very little, if anything, about how the livestock sector works.

You who are reading this article, for example, what do you really know about how it works? Not what you think, but what you know! Which is different. It is a difference to be emphasised, because it turns out that only 3% of consumers say they ‘feel well informed’ which is different from ‘being well informed’.


Among the data collected, we also find that many consumers (about 40%) believe that farmed chickens live in poor welfare conditions.

The recent Eurobarometer on the “perception of animal welfare” also found a very similar figure on “knowledge of animal husbandry”: almost 4 out of 10 Europeans have no regular contact with animals in general and although the remaining 6 (out of 10) say they have regular contact with animals every day, this figure only concerns domestic animals and of these only 6% say they have regular contact with farm animals.

The Eurobarometer also gathered information that about 8 out of 10 Europeans say that the welfare of farmed animals in their country should be ‘better’. Unfortunately, however, it is not clear on what knowledge this opinion is based.

People are much more accustomed to frequenting supermarkets than farms and, when they approach the meat sector, they happen to read labels where many indications are given, some indicated by law, others to respond to the sensitivities that emerge from surveys or activists’ requests. However, very few people know how to correctly interpret the indications on the labels.

There is objectively a lack of awareness of practices on farms and because of this it is easy for a distorted reality to form that is oriented by certain films instrumentally constructed to create visions that are, indeed, distorted. This distorting effect is also compounded by a widespread tendency to an ‘idyllic’ vision of what farms should be like

Ensuring animal welfare requires commitment, resources, investment.


The reality is that the poultry sector in Europe is characterised by very high standards of animal welfare. However, the constant raising of care for farmed animals inevitably entails investments that fall on the entire supply chain and thus also on the end consumer.

Further surveys shed light on this point, questioning people on specific facts: are they willing or able to pay more for products that result from the increased investments aimed at ensuring ever greater well-being?

The answers yield a surprising (but predictable) result: despite the fact that people state that they would gladly pay more to have the guarantee of more ‘ethical’ practices, when it comes to shopping they always go for the cheapest option:


Link to the search in the original site:



Link to the document in the M.A.C. archive:

(link to “aw_platform_20220630_pres05.pdf”)


This trend is also confirmed by the MeatQuality project (https://meatquality.eu/) on the link between intrinsic meat quality and farming practices.


Consumer surveys show that the main factors influencing food purchases remain taste, food safety, price, food provenance and nutritional content, while concerns about sustainability and animal welfare come in last place.

What can this figure mean? If animal welfare is not the main concern when people buy food, why does it turn out that people want higher animal welfare standards than actually exist now in Europe? The most obvious answer is that there is an imbalance of media sources.


Unfortunately, it is never news that farmers are investing hundreds of thousands of euros in modernising their stables, installing digital monitoring tools or training their staff to ensure animal efficiency, animal welfare and healthy food.

Conversely, we only receive amplified and repeated reports when even one incident occurs on a farm.

Organised and well-funded groups https://moreaboutchicken.com/the-fate-of-non-profit-organisations-keeping-blaming/ continue to denounce animal welfare crises in the EU with sweeping statements, pointing out violations of existing regulations https://moreaboutchicken.com/millionaire-activists/ . This is a clear demonstration that these people do not know that a crisis can have an impact on the food supply. Quite the opposite, in fact, if animals were generally in a state of ‘welfare crisis’, we would produce far less food than we do today. An animal can only be adequately productive if it is well cared for and, in the E.U., current production levels are only possible because of the high standards of animal welfare, which are among the best in the world.


The editorial staff of M.A.C.