Perception of sheep welfare and sentience by citizens of Curitiba, Parana, Brazil and Clermont-Ferrand, Theix, France
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We compared the perception of citizens from Curitiba, Parana, Brazil (B) and Clermont-Ferrand, Theix, France (F), concerning sheep welfare and sentience. Animal welfare was defined mainly using terms associated with Freedom from fear and distress, Freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition, and Freedom from discomfort. A total of 46.9% B believed that welfare is not taken into consideration for farm animals, in contrast with 3.7% F (P<0.01). The consumption of sheep products did not differ between respondents, except for dairy, which was more frequently consumed by F (P<0.01). Many F associated animal welfare with physical conditions and showed less perception of sheep sentience than B (P<0.05). No significant differences were found for the perception of sheep suffering caused by management practices (P>0.05). Mammals were given the highest scores of sentience, and significant differences between B and F were found for pigeon, butterfly, dog, chicken, fish, sheep, cattle and cockroach (P<0.01). B and C showed similar definitions of animal welfare, attitudes on the consumption of sheep products and perception of suffering caused by management practices. However, participants differed on their perception of emotions in some species, animal welfare and productivity and sheep emotions; B showed higher perception of animal welfare issues.