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Exploring the Potential of Dutch Pig Farmers and Urban-Citizens to Learn Through Frame Reflection

  • Benard, Marianne1
  • de Cock Buning, Tjard1
  • 1 Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Athena Institute for Research on Innovation and Communication in Health and Life Sciences, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, De Boelelaan 1081, Amsterdam, 1081 HV, The Netherlands , Amsterdam (Netherlands)
Published Article
Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics
Springer Netherlands
Publication Date
Feb 02, 2013
DOI: 10.1007/s10806-013-9438-y
Springer Nature


The Dutch pig husbandry has become a topic of public debate. One underlying cause is that pig farmers and urban-citizens have different perspectives and underlying norms, values and truths on pig husbandry and animal welfare. One way of dealing with such conflicts involves a learning process in which a shared vision is developed. A prerequisite for this process is that both parties become aware of their own fixed patterns of thoughts, actions, and blind spots. Therefore, we conducted five homogeneous focus groups consisting of either urban-citizens or pig farmers. The first part of the sessions aimed to make the participants aware of their own perspectives and underlying norms and values concerning animal welfare, farm practices or consumer behavior. Then, by the use of role-play and film fragments showing the perspectives of the other party, we aimed to stimulate frame reflection. The farmers maintained their own perspective and defended their practices. They denied the perspective of the urban-citizens by portraying them as ignorant of the “factual” farm practices. They proposed the use of one-way information, but our results indicate that this is likely to fail as a strategy to support or restore public acceptance. Our case shows hardy any consensus regarding the relevance of the facts at stake and a very limited amount of shared values. However, the shared love for animals together with the recognition by the urban-citizens of the inescapable dilemma for farmers to adopt a use-framing towards animals might provide an opening for further learning strategies.

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