Factors affecting French rabbit farmers’ adoption of pro-welfare innovations





animal welfare, motivation, resistance, change, rabbit farmers


Consumers are increasingly animal welfare-conscious and critical of indoor caged housing systems such as those used in rabbit farming, and Europe has committed to legislate a ban on caged animal farming. Research has evidenced several technical and economic drivers of system change or lock-in in the livestock sector. Here we study determinants, motivations and/or resistance to adoption of pro-welfare practices among French rabbit farmers. First, we held 31 exploratory interviews with rabbit farmers and then performed a thematic analysis on the interview transcripts. We then assessed French rabbit farmers’ receptivity to change, using questionnaires containing 83 variables addressing receptivity to change, technico-economic characterisation of the farms, professional situations, and the personal and professional life of the rabbit farmers. Receptivity to change was evaluated through two synthetic variables summarising pro-change practices (changes already made on-farm to housing, management, feeding, etc.) and interest in innovation (receptiveness to novelty and relationship with innovation) graded on a 3-point scale (low, moderate, high). We analysed effects of technico-economic and sociodemographic variables (social attributes, internal and external motivations) on interest in innovation and pro-change practices using Chi-square tests and Cramer’s V. We collected 78 full questionnaires, i.e. covering 10% of the French population of professional rabbit farmers. Results showed a link between interest in innovation and pro-change practices (P<0.001). Sociodemographic variables (33%, 21/63; P<0.05) rather than technico-economic variables (5%, 1/19; P<0.05) were linked to receptivity to change. Pro-change practices were more influenced by the variables capturing internal motivations (6/16, economic, technical, work facilitation, materialise the farmer’s interests) than external motivations (3/21, societal incentives, family group or social environment). The weight of the sociodemographic variables suggests that transition support systems should be thought out in terms of farmer attributes.


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Author Biographies

Pierre Chiron, Université de Toulouse, INRAE

GENPHYSE, Université de Toulouse, INRAE, ENVT

AGIR, Université de Toulouse, INRAE

Antoine Doré, Université de Toulouse, INRAE

AGIR, Université de Toulouse, INRAE

Laurence Fortun Lamothe, Université de Toulouse, INRAE

GENPHYSE, Université de Toulouse, INRAE, ENVT


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