Meat consumption, behaviour and the media environment: a focus group analysis across four countries

Happer, C. and Wellesley, L. (2019) Meat consumption, behaviour and the media environment: a focus group analysis across four countries. Food Security, 11(1), pp. 123-139. (doi: 10.1007/s12571-018-0877-1)

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The livestock sector is a major driver of climate change, accounting for 14.5% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Population growth and rising prosperity are expected to see global consumption of meat rise by 76% by mid-century, a rate which is associated with significant social and environmental costs. There is therefore a compelling case for public measures to promote dietary shifts towards a more sustainable model, but little action has been taken at the international or national level. This article reports on an international study, with research conducted across the UK, US, China and Brazil, which examines the role the media might play in driving social change in this area. The study focused specifically on the negotiation of new information around meat consumption and climate change and its impacts on existing attitudes and behaviours. Findings indicate that perceptions and beliefs on climate change are culturally specific – tending to reflect national political and social priorities - but are contextualised within individually constructed media environments. Key determining factors include assessments of trust and credibility in regard to scientists and other experts, perceptions of the role of government and questions of individual versus collective responsibility. These shape the parameters within which arguments about the impact of meat consumption upon climate change are received, and these responses interact with cultural and structural barriers and opportunities to shape the likelihood of behaviour change.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The authors would like to thank the Avatar Alliance Foundation and the Craig and Susan McCaw Foundation for their financial support for this research project
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Happer, Dr Catherine
Authors: Happer, C., and Wellesley, L.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:Food Security
ISSN (Online):1876-4525
Published Online:19 January 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 The Authors
First Published:First published in Food Security 11(1):123-139
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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