Analysis of the social conditions of cases of animal neglect
In this paper we analyse how risk factors in highly industrialised agriculture are connected to animal neglect. With Danish agriculture as a case study, we use two types of data. First, we use register data from Statistics Denmark to map how risk factors such as farmers’ financial and social troubles are connected to convictions of neglect. Second, we analyse narratives where interviewed farmers, involved in cases of neglect, describe how they themselves experienced the incidents. We find that while livestock farmers in general have a low risk of animal neglect problems, a small percentage of them face severe financial difficulties, divorce and psychiatric problems, which are connected to an increased risk of being convicted for the neglect of farm animals. The narratives bring forward themes of pressure related to financial trouble, technological break down, family problems, stress and a growing concern among the farmers towards the governmental control in farm animal production. We discuss how these factors can be used to identify and help farmers with a high risk of being convicted of livestock neglect.
Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 2013, Vol 27, Issue 1, p. 103-126
Neglect of livestock; Farmer ethics; Narratives; Risk groups; Living conditions; Crime