Cows stand in their stalls in a barn 

Public's views on animal agriculture surveyed

By Aspen Deno - Published November 6, 2015

A new Purdue Extension publication presents local and state leaders with research findings on the similarities and differences in how people in rural and urban Indiana perceive animal agriculture.

The authors of Views on Animal Agriculture in Rural Versus Urban Indiana Counties explain the viewpoints that influence food purchasing decisions and evaluate how residents in rural, urban and "mixed" counties—those where there is a combination of both urban and rural living—get their information on animal welfare and form their opinions on livestock operations.

Among the findings: A larger percentage of people in rural counties than those in urban counties said they would not oppose the building of new livestock operations. Responses were neutral, however, among people in rural, urban and mixed counties when they were asked if livestock operations make good neighbors.

"This is interesting because while people who live in rural counties are friendlier to growth, the perception of livestock operations as good neighbors is not statistically different from those in urban, rural or mixed counties," the researchers concluded.

The publication, based on a July 2014 survey of 797 Indiana adults, is the latest in the Rural Indiana Issues series, begun in 2013, to help state and local leaders better tackle the many quality-of-life issues facing people in the most rural counties in Indiana. All of the publications are available free for download in Purdue Extension's The Education Store.

The publication was written by lead author Ann Cummins, an agricultural economics graduate student; Nicole Olynk Widmar, agricultural economics associate professor; Joan Fulton, agricultural economics associate department head and professor; and Candace Croney, director of the Purdue Center for Animal Welfare Science.

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