Livestock farmers are advised to engage in direct dialogue with consumers. However, attempts to communicate in this way e.g. by farmers using social media have received little academic attention. The present article, based on an online questionnaire conducted in the summer of 2018, provides an explorative insight into the motives, strategies and experiences of criticism of German-speaking livestock farmers with a Facebook business page. The questionnaire reveals that farmers’ motives are not limited to immediate economic objectives. The farmers also aim to provide general information on agriculture and livestock farming. In doing this, they wish to regain the leading role in agricultural discourses and to improve society’s understanding of current agricultural practices with the overall objective of gaining wider societal acceptance of present-day livestock farming. However, the study also makes clear that Facebook is a platform on which farmers are confronted with criticism, and that this criticism can be violent and personally insulting, allowing the diagnosis that livestock farmers are exposed to hate speech.
Key words: Descriptive ethics, social media, livestock farming, Facebook, hate speech, food production.
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