children place importance on British meat
Published:  05 April, 2007

Children aged as young as seven from across England and Scotland and Wales living in rural, suburban and urban areas reveal their views about the countryside, farming and food in a new survey commissioned by Farming and Countryside Education (FACE).

The primary and secondary school were asked a broad range of questions in the survey conducted by independent specialists in research with children and young people, ChildWise.

When the 11-16-year-old group were asked about animal welfare 61% were concerned about the way the animals were kept, while 48% were concerned about the slaughtering methods and the same percentage were concerned about the way animals were handled.

A total of 41% were concerned about animals being kept for slaughter and about the types of medication used on animals, while 40% had concerns about the type of food the animals were being fed. 10% of the children had no concerns about animal welfare.

The survey reveals that the same age group had a good understanding (80%) that there is a difference between organic and conventional farming.

When it came to visiting the countryside, 74% of 11-16-year olds said they visited the countryside, with 40% visiting at least once a month, which is an average of 1.2 visits per month.

Meanwhile 70% of 7-11-year-olds said they visited the countryside with 19% visiting once a month making an average of 1.1 visits per month.

There have been changes since ChildWise research was carried out with 11-16-year-olds on the same themes three years ago.

ChildWise director, Rosemary Duff, said: "There has been a move towards greater support of local and British food over imported goods.

"When asked why buy British, the children said it was because the food was fresh and had not travelled as far."

Duff said 79% of children in the latest survey considered meat important to a balanced diet, whilst just 8% considered it not important.

At the previous survey (2003), slightly fewer (77%) considered meat important, whilst a higher proportion (11%) thought it was not important.

"Older children are more likely to consider meat to be important - 85% of 15-16 year olds think it's important," Duff said.

Bill Graham, head of education (FACE), said the results of the survey would be used to benchmark the views of young people on countryside, farming and food and would provide schools and other organisations with an up-to-date and accurate educational resource.

(Picture courtesy of FACE)