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Article

Global Prospects of the Cost-Efficiency of Broiler Welfare in Middle-Segment Production Systems

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Business Economics Group, Wageningen University, Hollandseweg 1, 6706 KN Wageningen, The Netherlands
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Wageningen Livestock Research, De Elst 1, 6708 WD Wageningen, The Netherlands
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Wageningen Economic Research, Hollandseweg 1, 6706 KN Wageningen, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2019, 9(7), 473; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070473
Received: 27 February 2019 / Revised: 8 April 2019 / Accepted: 23 April 2019 / Published: 23 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Poultry Production Systems)
Intensive broiler systems using fast-growing broiler strains at relatively high stocking density (higher than 38 kg/m2) are being criticised in Western countries because of risks for animal welfare. To address this criticism, alternative middle-segment production systems were introduced in North-West Europe in the 2000s. These middle-segment systems contain indoor housed slower-growing broiler strains housed at stocking densities ≤38 kg/m2 and claim to have increased animal welfare at a limited increase in production costs. In this study we aimed to analyse the level of animal welfare and production costs of these middle-segment production systems in different parts of the world (the Netherlands, United States and Brazil). Results show that in the Netherlands, United States and Brazil a change from conventional towards these middle-segment systems provides a considerable increase in animal welfare at a relatively small increase in production costs, i.e., has a high cost-efficiency. Overall, it can be concluded that in general middle-segment production systems entail a considerable increase in animal welfare at a relatively small increase in production costs and therefore offer good global prospects for a cost-efficient improvement of broiler welfare.
In the 2000s, the idea of a so-called middle-segment arose in North-West Europe to address the criticism on intensive broiler production systems. Middle-segment systems being indoor housing of slower-growing broiler strains at a stocking density ≤38 kg/m2. Previous literature showed that Dutch middle-segment systems entail a relatively large gain in animal welfare at a relatively low increase in costs, i.e., have a high cost-efficiency. The question is to what extent these findings are applicable to other countries. Therefore, the aim of this study is to gain insight in the global prospects of middle-segment systems by exploring the cost-efficiency of these systems in other parts of the world. A set of representative countries, containing the Netherlands, United States and Brazil were selected. Cost-efficiency was defined as the ratio of the change in the level of animal welfare and the change in production costs. The level of animal welfare was measured by the Welfare Quality (WQ) index score. Data was collected from literature and consulting experts. Results show that in the Netherlands, United States and Brazil a change from conventional towards a middle-segment system improves animal welfare in a cost-efficient manner (the Netherlands 9.1, United States 24.2 and Brazil 12.1). Overall, it can be concluded that in general middle-segment production systems provide a considerable increase in animal welfare at a relatively small increase in production costs and therefore offer good prospects for a cost-efficient improvement of broiler welfare. View Full-Text
Keywords: animal welfare; broiler production; cost-efficiency animal welfare; broiler production; cost-efficiency
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MDPI and ACS Style

Vissers, L.S.M.; de Jong, I.C.; van Horne, P.L.M.; Saatkamp, H.W. Global Prospects of the Cost-Efficiency of Broiler Welfare in Middle-Segment Production Systems. Animals 2019, 9, 473. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070473

AMA Style

Vissers LSM, de Jong IC, van Horne PLM, Saatkamp HW. Global Prospects of the Cost-Efficiency of Broiler Welfare in Middle-Segment Production Systems. Animals. 2019; 9(7):473. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070473

Chicago/Turabian Style

Vissers, Luuk S.M., Ingrid C. de Jong, Peter L.M. van Horne, and Helmut W. Saatkamp. 2019. "Global Prospects of the Cost-Efficiency of Broiler Welfare in Middle-Segment Production Systems" Animals 9, no. 7: 473. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070473

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