Game consumption and attitudes to hunting in the Netherlands
In the Netherlands, per capita game consumption is low, but during autumn and Christmas, many consumers eat game, once or twice. Restaurants supply a big share of this game. Anti-hunting activism is a potential threat for the supply of game and therefore, to this part of restaurant business. The Dutch Organisation for Animal Protection (Dierenbescherming) claims that 97% of the Dutch population is opposed to hunting. This seems contradictory to the modest but widespread game consumption. The present paper explores this contradiction. By conducting street interviews, 276 usable questionnaires were obtained. 52% of the respondents consumed game, 48% didn’t. Roughly a third of the respondents were opposed to hunting, another third were pro and the other third were neutral. Opponents of hunting were more numerous among respondents not eating game. Reasons for not eating game were the perceived complexity of preparation, cost and difficulty in buying game, not liking the taste and vegetarianism. Restaurants were the dominant places for game consumption, indicating that the perceived complexity of game preparation limits home consumption. Possible explanations for the contradiction between the present research and the report ordered by Dierenbescherming are explored. Differences in methodology and lack of information about hunting possibly play an important role. The paper concludes with recommendations for the restaurant industry.
Keywords: animal protection, restaurant offerings, meat eating, anti-hunting activism, consumer opinion survey