The report titled: “Consumers perceptions on animal welfare and food safety” covered four countries—Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Zambia.
According to World Animal campaigns manager for animals in farming, Dr Victor Yamo, 37.2 per cent of Tanzanians who participated in the study do not consider meat being free from chemical contamination as important.
“Similarly, 54.37 per cent of the participants did not consider how the animal is raised as being important while 60.7 per cent and 56.8 per cent did not consider the welfare of the animal during transportation and slaughter to be important,” he said.
Dr Yamo said: “Of significant importance is that consumers are willing to pay more if they are assured that the meat products are free from antibiotics and chemicals and the animals are raised and transported in high welfare conditions and ultimately slaughtered humanely.”
“This report points to a significant need for enhanced education and sensitisation of Tanzanian consumers on animal welfare and the correlation between how animals are raised and the quality of the meat that ends up on their tables.”
According to him, it is important that producers and key players along the meat value chain adopted high welfare production systems.
The report further states that 89.9 per cent of the respondents would purchase more meat and meat products with a food safety assurance marker from supermarkets and fast food restaurants while 38.2 per cent of the respondents will purchase more if the production was environmentally friendly and 36.7 per cent would increase their meat consumption if the production system was animal welfare friendly. 60.1 per cent of the people interviewed would purchase more if assured the meat is free of chemicals.
The report also shows that 53.3 per cent were able to link the use of antibiotics in farming systems to poor welfare within the production system and 79.4 per cent of the participants knew that antibiotics in the meat had a negative impact on the health of the consumers. 87.8 per cent of the consumers were able to connect poor animal welfare to poor quality of meat that ends on their plates.
On the same line, 61 per cent were willing to pay more for meat that is produced in high welfare. In addition, 71.4 per cent percent of people interviewed would stop sourcing and tell their family and friends to stop sourcing meat if they knew supermarkets sourced meat products from poor animal welfare producers.
He reminded the Veterinary professionals in Tanzania of their critical role in not only educating producers and consumers on the importance of animal welfare in ensuring wholesome products but also the important role in ensuring that appropriate policies and regulations around animal welfare and food safety are in place to not only protect the consumers but also to ensure that the Tanzanian production system met international standards.
“Consumers should demand for antibiotic-free, higher welfare produced meat and meat products from the outlets where they obtain their meat and meat products,” said Dr Yamo.