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Alternatives to culling male chicks – the consumer perspective

Corrina Reithmayer (Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Fakultat fur Agrarwissenschaften,Georg-August-Universitat Gottingen, Goettingen, Germany)
Oliver Mußhoff (Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Fakultat fur Agrarwissenschaften,Georg-August-Universitat Gottingen, Goettingen, Germany)
Michael Danne (Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Fakultat fur Agrarwissenschaften,Georg-August-Universitat Gottingen, Goettingen, Germany)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 3 January 2020

Issue publication date: 28 February 2020

572

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate consumer preferences for boxes of eggs which are produced without the culling of male layer-type chicks in layer hen production and, furthermore, to investigate consumer preferences for labels from different certifying bodies.

Design/methodology/approach

An online survey including a discrete choice experiment was conducted among 526 German consumers in 2018 and early 2019. Mixed logit models in preference and willingness to pay (WTP) space were estimated.

Findings

The preferred alternative is gender determination of incubated eggs, but also dual-use (DU) poultry with free-range rearing of cockerels was approved. Labels from public authorities and the Animal Protection Organisation were highly approved. In contrast, retailers were not considered suitable for the certification of production claims.

Research limitations/implications

A hypothetical setting was employed. A revealed preferences approach is suggested for future research.

Practical implications

Evidence for a wide approval of in ovo gender determination was found. Free-range rearing of cockerels was the most promising for the marketing of DU poultry products. Furthermore, public authorities and well-established third parties should engage in the field of animal welfare labelling.

Originality/value

This is the first study focussing on preferences and WTP for alternatives to chick culling, which will soon be available on the market, and for institutions certifying production claims. Findings help political decision makers, when looking for alternatives to the culling of day-old chicks, which are considered more acceptable by the public.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Conflict of interests: the authors declare no conflict of interests.

Citation

Reithmayer, C., Mußhoff, O. and Danne, M. (2020), "Alternatives to culling male chicks – the consumer perspective", British Food Journal, Vol. 122 No. 3, pp. 753-765. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-05-2019-0356

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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