Is there a link between beef quality and animal welfare in traditional beef systems?

New Medit, vol 10, n.3, (September 2011), pp. 17-25


Language: EN
Jel classification: Q18


There has been a profound evolution concerning farm animal welfare perception in Europe. This together with growing evidence that animal welfare has an impact on food safety and quality led to new legislation for an animal friendlier production sector. Also, new support measures aid those who supply cost increased animal friendlier products with differentiated quality. This article unveils connections between traditional systems and animal welfare. Two beef production systems in Portugal are described. A descriptive analysis is relevant for understanding why local breeds are preferred by producers, and why “semi-extensive” systems are better adapted to the country. Portuguese beef systems are also described in terms of their animal welfare status and probable control points. A link between Portuguese native breeds and beef quality is proposed, namely through increased animal welfare that may be translated into beef intrinsic quality. Nevertheless, as animal welfare is a credence quality attribute, consumers must rely on information, that is, on quality cues, to infer upon it on the product. This might give marketers the option to develop quality differentiated strategies based on that attribute, within their broader marketing strategies.


beef quality, animal welfare, control point, consumer preferences

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