Enhancing Japanese visitors’ interest in livestock welfare through zoo carcass feeding activities


  • Kota OKABE Kyoto City Zoo
  • Ayumi Kawamura
  • Katsuji Uetake
  • Chihiro Kase




Animal Welfare, Consumer Behaviour, Environmental Enrichment, Laying hen, Personal Connection


Japanese people have little interest in livestock welfare. This study aimed to enhance their interest by implementing an educational programme in a zoo through two different types of carcass-feeding activities to encourage a personal connection between visitors and animals. Observers of jaguars Panthera onca being fed carcasses of laying hens (YouTubeTM streaming: 27 August 2021; exhibit: 13 October–3 November 2021) showed significantly less concern for the husbandry environment of laying hens than the control group, even though the observers were highly conscious of animal welfare. There is a clear bias in the subject of visitors’ animal welfare concerns. Participants who watched the streamed video before viewing the exhibit were not considerably different from control group visitors. At this point, there was no difference in the price of eggs purchased between these groups. In a post-event survey conducted three months later, the exhibit participants were as interested in the hens’ husbandry environment as the non-exhibit participants and the price of eggs purchased was significantly higher than that of the non-exhibit participants. Thus, interest in hen welfare was maintained and welfare-oriented eggs were selected, which likely resulted in higher egg purchase prices. However, since this study is based on respondents’ self-reports, it is unclear whether respondents’ egg purchase prices actually increased. The carcass-feeding exhibit is thought to have at least broadened the zoo visitors’ interest in livestock welfare. The provision of knowledge on hen care and management and the first-hand experience of gaining empathy for the animals were considered effective in making this change. Continued implementation of educational programs will be necessary to increase the number of visitors who are interested in the welfare of hens, to increase egg purchase prices, and ultimately to improve the environment in which hens are kept.




How to Cite

OKABE, K., Kawamura, A., Uetake, K., & Kase, C. (2024). Enhancing Japanese visitors’ interest in livestock welfare through zoo carcass feeding activities. Journal of Zoo and Aquarium Research, 12(2), 112–120. https://doi.org/10.19227/jzar.v12i2.755



Original Research Article

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