70% of Americans Want Better Treatment for Farm Animals, Poll Finds

70% of Americans Want Better Treatment for Farm Animals, Poll Finds
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A survey conducted by the nonprofit think tank Sentience Institute (SI), in collaboration with Ipsos Group, found that 70 percent of Americans have some level of discomfort with how animals are being used in the food sector and support changes to how animals are raised and slaughtered for food.

“The public support we see for these proposals is remarkable,” said SI Research Director Jacy Reese. “Less than 10% of the population is vegetarian, but you can eat turkeys for Thanksgiving and still want society as a whole to shift away from animal agriculture. This is in line with the result that an overwhelming 97% of people see vegetarianism as a personal choice, despite many of them supporting policy change.”

Forty-nine percent of Americans polled agreed with this statement:  “I support a ban on the factory farming of animals.” Forty-seven percent supported a ban on slaughterhouses while 33 percent supported a ban on all animal farming. And a stunning sixty-nine percent said they think factory farming has become one of the most important social justice issues of our time.

Despite the findings, the Sentience Institute reports that Americans consistently underestimate factory farming. According to the group, 58 percent of Americans believe all farm animals are treated well despite the lack of regulations protecting animals (poultry have no federal protection). Seventy-five percent say they try to purchase “humane” animal products even though government data show “fewer than 1% of farmed animals live on non-factory farms,” the Sentience Institute notes.

“We hope to conduct this survey every few years so we can see how US attitudes are changing, especially given the growth of the plant-based foods sector and the scientific work being done to create real animal products from animal cells and proteins, without animal slaughter. Clean meat could be the tipping point that will shift the US food system in line with public values.”

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Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites OrganicAuthority.com and EcoSalon.com, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better. www.jillettinger.com.