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Willingness of Dutch broiler and pig farmers to convert to production systems with improved welfare

By E. Gocsik, I. A. van der Lans, A. G. J. M. O. Lansink, H. W. Saatkamp

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Abstract

The present study investigated 15 broiler and 13 fattening pig farmers' willingness-to-convert to alternative production systems with higher animal welfare standards compared to conventional production systems in The Netherlands, and explored the main barriers to the adoption of these alternative systems. Alternative production systems were categorised, according to whether farmers were required to make reversible or irreversible changes to the current farm. Two out of the four pig systems in the study were considered as reversible, whereas the other two as irreversible. One out of the four broiler systems presented was considered as reversible, whereas the other three as irreversible. Results show that to convert to a system requiring irreversible changes 83 and 85% (figures for each of the two irreversible systems) of the surveyed fattening pig farmers required a 30% or higher increase in their family income, while to convert to a system requiring reversible changes 8 and 23% of the pig farmers required a similar level of increase. Also, for each of the three irreversible systems, 62, 64 and 87% of the surveyed broiler farmers required a 30% or higher increase in their family income to a system requiring irreversible changes, while to convert to a system requiring reversible changes, 20% of the broiler farmers required a similar level of increase. Thirty-eight and 62% of the fattening pig farmers and 40% of the broiler farmers were willing to convert to the specific systems that allowed reversible changes if they knew they could earn the same income as they did in their current system. This study highlights a number of reasons for farmers' reluctance to switch to alternative systems: perceived uncertainty about price premiums, lack of space on the farm, scarcity of land nearby the farm, risk of disease spread, the existing farm set-up, prohibition of tail docking, allowing for castration, and views that proposed alternatives were 'farmer-unfriendly' or impractical.

Publication Title Animal Welfare
Volume 24
Issue 2
Pages 211-222
ISBN/ISSN 0962-7286
DOI 10.7120/09627286.24.2.211
Language English
Author Address Business Economics Group, Wageningen University, Hollandseweg 1, 6706 KN, Wageningen, Netherlands.Eva.Gocsik@wur.nl
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Tags
  1. Animal nutrition
  2. Animal production
  3. Animals
  4. Animal welfare
  5. Birds
  6. Broilers
  7. Castration
  8. Decision making
  9. Developed countries
  10. Docking
  11. Europe
  12. Farms
  13. Finishing
  14. Fowls
  15. Income
  16. Livestock farming
  17. Mammals
  18. Netherlands
  19. OECD countries
  20. peer-reviewed
  21. pig farming
  22. Pigs
  23. Poultry
  24. prices
  25. standards
  26. Suiformes
  27. ungulates
  28. Union Countries
  29. vertebrates
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed