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Consumer choices can have a significant impact on animal welfare. This includes food, beauty products, leisure activities and more. Choices on where we spend and how we invest our money can support practices that promote animal welfare and discourage those who exploit or harm animals.

Our food buying habits are changing

Our polling suggests that people are beginning to change their behaviour and buy fewer animal products.

Almost 6 in 10 (59%) people sometimes or always check the label to see how animals have been farmed when buying animal products, and over two thirds say that they sometimes or always buy higher welfare meat, eggs and dairy (67%).

Despite tough financial conditions, animal welfare has remained a concern for most food customers. RSPCA Assured sales volumes have remained steady. This potentially shows that animal welfare remains a priority. 

two thirds say they sometimes or always buy higher welfare meat, eggs and dairy

But some consumer actions remain at odds with our beliefs

Three-quarters (72%) of people think chickens have physical and emotional experiences, but moving away from intensive farming was considered a priority issue for just 38% of people. It is estimated that more than 1 billion chickens will be farmed in the UK in 2023 alone. And the majority of these will be bred to grow quickly while living in poor and overcrowded conditions.

It is complex to help people eat differently and understand the impact of their day-to-day choices on animal welfare and the environment. This is especially true when higher welfare products tend to be more expensive.

72% people think that chickens have physical and emotional experiences and can feel pain but moving away from intensive farming was a priority for just 38%

Investment options present an opportunity

Today, consumers have access to more information about investment options and their impact on the environment, society and ethics. According to the Investment Association, there are £11.6 trillion worth of investments in the UK. This presents a huge opportunity for these products and services to consider animal welfare.

People who have control over where their investments are held (for example, their pension) were asked about which factors they consider. Their most common priority is ‘Whether the investments are linked to human rights abuses’ (29%). Following closely is ‘The environmental impact of your investments’ with 27%. Meanwhile, the connection of the investment to modern slavery and the investment’s impacts on animal welfare were both prioritised by one-quarter (25%).

Interestingly, younger people between the ages of 25 and 34 were more likely to prioritise the importance of animal welfare impacts in their investment choices (33%, over an average of 25%).

There is a need to increase public pressure on pension providers and financial institutions to develop and offer more products that respond to social, environmental and ethical concerns. The shifting of these financial markets to ‘welfare positive’ investments could have a transformational impact on the experiences of animals.

25% people who would prioritise the impact on animal welfare in their investment choices

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Your local SPCA

The Animal Kindness Index 2023 was produced together with Scottish SPCA and Ulster SPCA. Find out more about your local SPCA.