ASPCA Farm Surveys

Surveys reliably show that the American public cares deeply about farm animals and wants them to be protected from suffering. Below are a collection of national polls commissioned by the ASPCA exploring public opinion about farm animals, food labeling and undercover investigations on farms. To learn more or for media inquiries, contact [email protected].

2018 Technomic Supermarket Retailer Survey

This survey executed by Technomic shows that supermarket industry decision-makers are motivated to stock products that promise better animal welfare, and are seeing the benefits of doing so through strong sales. It also reveals that retailers largely do not understand the differences between animal welfare claims.
  • 30% of supermarket decision-makers are interested in stocking more products specifically describing humane treatment of animals.
  • 70% of those stocking products with humane claims report that sales from these products have increased over the past three years.
  • 45% of those surveyed who reported stocking products with humane claims said they had done so for over two years, indicating sustained sales.
  • 70% of supermarket industry decision-makers believe they have a good understanding of the meaning of terms related to animal rearing.
  • More than 70% of supermarket industry decision-makers believe they have a (very or somewhat) good understanding of the meaning of terms related to animal rearing, yet those surveyed considered many unverified or irrelevant claims like "natural" and "hormone-free" to be strong animal welfare assurances, sometimes considering them more highly than verified animal welfare certification claims. 
  • For example, 95% of supermarket industry decision-makers felt that “cage-free” was a strong animal welfare claim on chicken meat products, despite the fact that cages are not used to raise chickens for meat.

2016 Labeling Survey

This 2016 survey shows that the vast majority of Americans are concerned about farm animal welfare and are willing to pay more for better treatment of animals, but are confused by food labels.

  • 77% of consumers say that they are concerned about the welfare of animals that are raised for food.
  • 78% of consumers think that there should be an objective third-party checking on the welfare of animals on farms.
  • 74% of consumers say they are paying more attention to the labels that pertain to how an animal was raised than they were five years ago.
  • 75% of consumers want their stores to carry a greater variety of welfare-certified meat, eggs and dairy products.
  • 67% of consumers would purchase welfare-certified products, even when it means a modest increase in price.
  • There are widespread misconceptions about what common labels actually mean for animal welfare. For example, 65 percent of consumers surveyed believe the term “free-range” ensures that the animal spent most of its time in a pasture. But in reality, there is no legal definition of “free-range” for pork, beef or dairy products. On poultry products, birds must have access to the outdoors, but the size, duration and quality of that outdoor experience is not defined.

2014 Chicken Survey

This 2014 survey shows that consumers overwhelmingly want more humanely raised chicken and wish there were more options in stores.

  • 81% of respondents feel it is important that the chickens they eat be humanely raised.
  • 78% of chicken consumers surveyed feel that raising chickens humanely leads to safer chicken products.
  • 76% of chicken consumers surveyed wish there were more humanely-raised chicken options available at their local grocery stores.
  • Less than one-third of respondents trust the companies that make chicken products to treat their chickens in a humane fashion.

2014 Organic Survey

This 2014 survey identified big gaps between consumer expectations and USDA requirements for the National Organic Program. American consumers assume—and would support—higher animal welfare standards under the USDA’s National Organic Program.

  • 55% of organic consumers believe that the USDA Organic certification indicates humane treatment of farm animals.
  • 68% of organic consumers assume that animals in the program have access to outdoor pasture and fresh air throughout the day, but there is currently no clear requirement for the type and length of outdoor access.
  • More than 90% of organic consumers support a much higher standard of “access to the outdoors” than is currently in place under the National Organic Program.

2013 Broiler Chicken Survey

This 2013 survey indicates that once consumers are given information about the conditions in which broiler chickens are raised, confidence in health and safety plummets while concern about chicken welfare and the desire to purchase humanely raised chicken rises dramatically.

  • 53% of consumers who do not primarily buy humanely raised chicken say they do not buy this chicken because they do not know whether the chicken is in fact raised humanely.
  • After they were given information about the conditions in which chickens are raised, only 50% of consumers were confident that most of the chicken they purchased was safe to eat and only 39% were confident that the chicken they purchased came from chicken farms that have sanitary conditions.
  • After they were given information about the conditions in which chickens are raised, only 35% were confident that the chicken they purchased was raised humanely (compared to 60% initially).
  • After they were given information about the conditions in which chickens are raised, 86% of consumers said that they were more likely to buy chicken products from animals that are raised more humanely and are healthy.

2012 Ag-Gag Survey

This 2012 survey indicates that the American public opposes so-called “ag-gag” legislation.

  • 71% of Americans support undercover investigative efforts by animal welfare organizations to expose animal abuse on industrial farms, including 54% who strongly support the efforts.
  • 64% of Americans oppose making undercover investigations of animal abuse on industrial farms illegal, with half of all Americans strongly opposing legislative efforts to criminalize investigations on industrial farms.
  • 94% of Americans feel that it is important to have measures in place to ensure that food coming from farms is safe to eat.
  • 94% of Americans agree that animals raised for food on farms deserve to be free from abuse and cruelty.