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Ethical aspects in poultry keeping and consumption patterns: A consumer survey

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Nowadays, the killing of day-old chicks is a widely discussed issue in science, poultry keeping, politics and the public. But there is very little research on consumers’ knowledge and preferences. To address this research gap, a representative quantitative survey on ethical aspects in poultry keeping and consumption patterns was carried out in spring 2016.

On behalf of the ginkoo project, an opinion and market research institute interviewed 1000 consumers in the German Federal states of Berlin and Brandenburg by telephone. The questionnaire (designed by the Institute of Socio-Economics, ZALF included questions about consumer attitudes on poultry welfare, the killing of day-old chicks, and dual-purpose chickens. Furthermore, consumers were asked about their consumption patterns and their potential willingness to pay for dual-purpose chicken products.

The results show that the killing of day-old chicks is very well known and the vast majority of respondents rates this issue as “very problematic”. Only few consumers were aware about potential alternatives to the “killing of day-old chicks” such as the in-ovo sex determination or the dual-purpose chicken keeping. For instance, over 80% never heard about dual-purpose chickens.

However, consumers see dual-purpose chickens as a great potential that could be exploited better. Many stated that they would appreciate further information and are willing to pay more for such products.

A detailed analysis of the survey data is currently in progress.

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