Monday, 15 October 2018

Belgian citizens' and broiler producers' perceptions of broiler chicken welfare in Belgium versus Brazil.

Poult Sci. 2016 Jul 1;95(7):1555-63. doi: 10.3382/ps/pew059. Epub 2016 Mar 14. Vanhonacker F1, Tuyttens FA2, Verbeke W3. Author information 1 Department of Agricultural Economics, Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium Department of Applied Biosciences, Ghent University, Valentin Vaerwyckweg 1, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium 2 Animal Sciences Unit, Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO), Scheldeweg 68, B-9090 Melle, Belgium. 3 Department of Agricultural Economics, Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium. Abstract New EU regulations require more stringent country-of-origin labeling, while imports of broiler meat from non-EU countries are increasing. In light of these trends, we have studied citizens' and producers' perceptions of broiler meat originating from Belgium versus Brazil and their perception of broiler production in Belgium versus Brazil. A particular focus was the association between country of origin and perceived level of animal welfare. We also investigated the perception of scaling-up and outdoor access in terms of perceived level of animal welfare. Cross-sectional survey data was collected among Flemish citizens (n = 541) and broiler producers (n = 114). In accordance with literature on general farm animal welfare, both stakeholder types claimed to allocate great importance to broiler welfare and generally agreed with the Welfare Quality model of broiler welfare. Citizens disagreed with the producers that 1) consumers are not willing to pay more for higher welfare products, 2) that broilers suffer little, 3) that broiler welfare in current Belgian production units is generally non-problematic, 4) that scaling-up production units would not have a positive impact on profitability nor a profoundly negative impact on broiler welfare, and 5) that the impact of providing broilers with outdoor access is negative for consumers, farmers, and broilers. Country of origin had a strong influence on the perception of both broiler production and broiler meat. Belgian citizens, and producers (much more than citizens) considered nearly all aspects related to broiler production and broiler meat to be significantly superior for chicken produced in Belgium compared to Brazil. Further research should focus on how these perceptions influence purchase intentions and production decisions. Future avenues for research are to quantify market opportunities for country-of-origin labeling and to investigate to which extent stakeholders' perceptions correspond with reality. KEYWORDS: animal welfare; consumer; country of origin; farmer; poultry PMID: 26976912 DOI: 10.3382/ps/pew059 [Indexed for MEDLINE]