Acceptability of Common Farming Practices

18 August 2022

It is often said that the United Kingdom is a nation of animal-lovers. The UK is the home of David Attenborough, the first animal welfare legislation, and over 10 million pet dogs. However, we are also largely a nation of meat-eaters. While vegetarian and vegan diets have been on the rise in recent years, 6 out of 7 of us still eat animals.  –  Chris Bryant


We surveyed a representative sample of 1,000 Brits to find out what they think of common practices involved in farming cows, chickens, and pigs.


A large majority of respondents found each of the practices to be unacceptable. The most unacceptable practices involved keeping animals in small confinement cages – 94% said that it was unacceptable for chickens to be kept in cages with 750sqcm of space, while 96% said it was unacceptable to keep pigs in cages which prevent them from turning around for several weeks.

Even the most acceptable practices were found to be unacceptable by a large majority of respondents. Castrating new-born calves was deemed acceptable by just 13% of respondents, but was deemed unacceptable by 74%. Killing new-born calves who cannot produce milk was found acceptable by just 12%, but was deemed unacceptable by 80%.

Acceptability of Common Farming Practices

Original survey data was collected by Bryant Research Ltd in July 2022. Graphics were produced by Science Graphic Design.

Impact & Recommendations

This survey data shows that the vast majority of the British public find common animal farming practices to be unacceptable.

For these reasons, and many others, Brits are increasingly ditching animal products in favour of plant-based alternatives. Plant-based animal product alternatives are orders of magnitude better for the environment, and have health benefits too. We are likely to continue to see this trend away from animal products in the UK over the next few years.

Also read: Plant Based Animal Product Alternatives are Healthier and More Environmentally Sustainable

Recommended Readings

Corrigendum: A Survey of Consumer Perceptions of Plant-Based and Clean Meat in the USA, India, and China: C Bryant, K Szejda, N Parekh, V Deshpande, B Tse – Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 2020