Perceptions of farm animal sentience and suffering: Evidence from the BRIC countries and the United States

Fernando Mata*, Bastian Jaeger, Ivo Domingues

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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In this study, we examined how beliefs about farm animal sentience and their suffering vary across culture and demographic characteristics. A total of N = 5027) questionnaires were administered in Brazil, Russia, India, China, and the USA. Brazilians showed higher and Chinese lower levels of perceived animal sentience. In Russia and India, the perception of suffering and sentience increases with age, with similar levels to those observed in the USA. In all the countries, more people agreed than disagreed that animals are sentient. Men in India show higher levels of agreement with the relation between eating meat and animal suffering, followed by women in Brazil and China. Lower levels of agreement are observed in Americans and Chinese. Women show higher levels of compassion than men. In Russia, there is a slightly higher level of agreement between men and in the USA younger men agree more. Young American men show higher levels of agreement, while in India and China age has the opposite effect. For fair trading competition, it is important to standardize procedures and respect the demand for both animal protein and its ethical production. Overall, our results showed that perceptions of farm animal sentience and suffering vary substantially across countries and demographic groups. These differences could have important consequences for the perceived ethicality of meat production and consumption, and for global trade in animal products.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3416
Number of pages18
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • BRIC countries
  • USA
  • ethics of meat consumption
  • farm animal sentience
  • farm animal suffering
  • meat trading standards


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