Societal Concerns about Pork and Pork Production and Their Relationships to the Production System

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Pork producers in Western Europe moreand more encounter a variety of societalconcerns about pork and pork production. Sofar, however, producers predominantly focusedon low consumer prices, therewith addressingjust one concern. This resulted in an intensiveand large-scale production system, decreasinglyrelated to the area of farm land, andaccompanied with increasing concerns aboutsafety and healthiness of pork, animal welfare,environmental pollution, and others.An overview was given of possible concernsabout West-European pork production with theconsumers, citizens, and producers, and thoseconcerns are traced back to the pork productionsystem. The various kinds and qualities ofinformation about the pork production system onwhich possible concerns are based have beenworked out extensively in this paper. Knowledgeabout the aspects of pork production that cangive rise to concerns can be used in two ways.First, the communication about those aspectstowards consumers and citizens can be adjustedor extended to give them better possibilitiesto make food choices or to develop their ownopinions about pork production. Second,producers could change the pork productionsystem such that it better satisfies consumersand citizens. Such adaptations are wellpossible, as three pork quality schemes, whichhave been evaluated, illustrate. However, mostof these adaptations can only be carried out atthe cost of the present low consumer prices andwill not occur spontaneously on a large scale.Therefore, accounting for the type andrelevance of the concerns, legislation isnecessary to address societal concerns in abalanced way such that pork production systemsbecome acceptable for the majority of oursociety.