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

Transition from Conventional Broiler Meat to Meat from Production Concepts with Higher Animal Welfare: Experiences from The Netherlands

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Business Economics Group, Wageningen University, Hollandseweg 1, 6706 KN Wageningen, The Netherlands
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Wageningen Economic Research, 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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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2019, 9(8), 483; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9080483
Received: 14 March 2019 / Revised: 16 May 2019 / Accepted: 3 June 2019 / Published: 25 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Poultry Production Systems)
Animal welfare (AW) in conventional Dutch broiler production (i.e., production systems that only satisfy the legal minimum requirements) has been under critique for decades. Then, suddenly, in 2014–2015, AW was improved for the entire Dutch fresh meat market for broilers. A study was conducted regarding the main reasons and decisive factors of this transition. It was found that important factors in bringing-about this transition were: (1) The availability of a cost-efficient alternative to conventional concepts, (2) a basic willingness to change within the entire value chain (including consumers), (3) initiating and triggering actions by non-governmental organizations (NGOs), (4) decisive initiatives by retailers and (5) simultaneous introduction of the new concept and replacement of the conventional concept (i.e., depriving the consumer of a cheaper choice alternative). It was concluded that, if these decisive factors were present, considerable improvements with regard to AW could be obtained in a relatively short period of time. This information can be of use for value chains of other species (e.g., pork) and countries outside the Netherlands.
Since the 1970s, animal welfare (AW) in Dutch broiler production has been criticized by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the general public. Despite the development of production concepts aimed at improving AW, the conventional concept, which satisfied only the minimum legal requirements, remained by far the most dominant one in the Dutch fresh broiler meat market. Then, quite suddenly, in 2014–2015 (i.e., within less than two years), a new broiler concept with increased AW was introduced, which included a slower growing animal, more space, and an improved light regime. This alternative completely replaced the by then conventional concept. The aim of this study was to investigate the origin, causes, and driving forces of this sudden change. Popular and scientific literature, as well as interviews with key players in this transition process, were used to re-construct the chronology of events and draw the main and decisive findings. The latter include: (1) The availability of a cost-efficient alternative to conventional concepts, (2) a basic willingness to change within the entire value chain (including consumers), (3) initiating and triggering actions by NGOs, (4) decisive initiatives by retailers and (5) simultaneous introduction of the new concept and replacement of the conventional concept (i.e., depriving the consumer of a cheaper choice alternative). The result was a real transition of the Dutch fresh meat market without negative purchasing responses of the consumers. It was concluded that, although the Dutch fresh broiler meat market only included 30% of total domestic production, the existence of the abovementioned decisive factors could bring about an important change in favor of AW within a short period of time. View Full-Text
Keywords: animal welfare; broiler production; improved production concepts; the Netherlands animal welfare; broiler production; improved production concepts; the Netherlands
MDPI and ACS Style

Saatkamp, H.W.; Vissers, L.S.M.; van Horne, P.L.M.; de Jong, I.C. Transition from Conventional Broiler Meat to Meat from Production Concepts with Higher Animal Welfare: Experiences from The Netherlands. Animals 2019, 9, 483. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9080483

AMA Style

Saatkamp HW, Vissers LSM, van Horne PLM, de Jong IC. Transition from Conventional Broiler Meat to Meat from Production Concepts with Higher Animal Welfare: Experiences from The Netherlands. Animals. 2019; 9(8):483. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9080483

Chicago/Turabian Style

Saatkamp, Helmut W.; Vissers, Luuk S.M.; van Horne, Peter L.M.; de Jong, Ingrid C. 2019. "Transition from Conventional Broiler Meat to Meat from Production Concepts with Higher Animal Welfare: Experiences from The Netherlands" Animals 9, no. 8: 483. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9080483

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