Abstract #W3

# W3
Public acceptance of dairy calf housing options.
R. Perttu*1, B. Ventura1, M. Endres1, 1Department of Animal Science, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN.

The objective of this study was to understand public acceptance of various forms of dairy calf housing. Adults (age 18 and up, n = 1310) were invited to complete a 28-item survey at the Minnesota State Fair (St. Paul, MN) in summer 2018. The survey was administered via Qualtrics using iPads and, in addition to collecting demographics, presented 3 images of calf housing options [individual (“IH”), pair (“PH”), or group (“GH”)] and asked participants to likert rate their acceptance for each option. Most participants (median age = 45 – 54 yr) were female (65%), urban residents (82%) who had completed a bachelor’s degree (42%) and owned a pet (94%). Most participants did not have a loved one working in dairy industry (78%), nor did most have any experience handling livestock (81%), though they had visited a livestock farm in the past (63%). Data were analyzed using PROC GLIMMIX of SAS, and multinomial models were built with rank of housing acceptance as the dependent variable. Overall, highest acceptance was found for GH (75.8% that agreed or strongly agreed about acceptability), followed by PH (66.0%) and IH (31.5%). Acceptance of IH was associated with sex, urban v. rural background, previous livestock experience, and knowing an individual in the dairy industry. More females disagreed that IH was acceptable compared with males (52.1 ± 0.01% vs. 37.6 ± 0.02%, respectively, P < 0.0001). Acceptance of IH was also less frequent among urban residents (28.8 ± 0.01% vs. 43.0 ± 0.03% of rural residents, P < 0.0001). Those reporting loved ones in the dairy industry were likewise less accepting of IH (50.3 ± 0.02% vs. 35.1 ± 0.03% of those lacking loved ones working in dairy, P < 0.0001), as were participants reporting livestock experience (49.2 ± 0.03% vs. 27.3 ± 0.01% of those without livestock experience, P < 0.0001). These findings suggest that group housing may be the most socially accepted form of dairy calf housing, while individual housing of calves appears less acceptable. Demographic factors, including sex, rural v. urban background, and livestock association appear to play a role in predicting acceptance of calf housing systems. Further qualitative analysis will be used to identify reasons underlying adult acceptance of calf housing options.

Key Words: public perceptions