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Consumer preferences for improved hen housing: Is a cage a cage?

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Listed:
  • Maurice Doyon
  • John Cranfield
  • Stéphane Bergeron
  • Lota Dabio Tamini
  • George Criner

Abstract

There is growing concern amongst some consumers regarding animal welfare in livestock production. Several regions, including California and the European Union, have banned the use of battery cage production systems for laying hens. In Quebec, battery cages are being phased out with new barns required to be equipped with enriched cages. In this paper, the empirical data from two discrete choice experiments (DCE) are used to understand Quebec consumers’ demand for alternative laying hen housing systems and desired attributes. The results of the first DCE suggest that Quebec consumers are not willing to pay a premium for eggs produced in enriched cage systems, in spite of evidence that they prefer aspects of that system. Using an online survey we find that consumers have a negative stigma related to the word ‘cage’. A second DCE is therefore conducted to estimate consumer preferences for different amenities commonly found in enriched cage systems, without the possible negative framing effect from the word “cage”. The results suggest that consumers have a positive value for the enhanced housing system for laying hens, results also indicate a differentiated demand for the various elements of the enhanced system. Les consommateurs sont de plus en plus soucieux du bien-être animal. Plusieurs régions, incluant la Californie et l’Europe, interdissent l’élevage de poules dans des systèmes de cages traditionnelles. Au Québec, ce type de cage sera graduellement éliminé, les producteurs ayant collectivement décidé que les nouvelles constructions seront équipées de cages enrichies. Ce papier présence les résultats de deux enquêtes avec choix expérimentaux discrets (CED) qui permettent de mieux comprendre la demande des consommateurs québécois pour les différents éléments d’un système de cage enrichie. La première enquête démontre une absence de valeur positive pour ce système, bien que les éléments du système de cage enrichie soient valorisés. Une enquête en ligne démontre un fort biais négatif associé au mot cage. Un deuxième CED, qui n’utilise pas le mot cage, est utilisé pour déterminer les préférences des consommateurs pour les différents éléments d’un système de cage enrichie. Les résultats indiquent une valeur positive pour le système enrichie avec des valeurs différenciées selon les éléments qui composent ce système de logement des pondeuses.

Suggested Citation

  • Maurice Doyon & John Cranfield & Stéphane Bergeron & Lota Dabio Tamini & George Criner, 2015. "Consumer preferences for improved hen housing: Is a cage a cage?," CIRANO Working Papers 2015s-48, CIRANO.
  • Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2015s-48
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    File URL: http://www.cirano.qc.ca/files/publications/2015s-48.pdf
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    1. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:10:p:3524-:d:173065 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Cao, Ying & Chen, Chen & Cranfield, John & Widowski, Tina, 2017. "Market Responses to Information Conveying Mixed Messages – Prediction of Informational Impacts on Consumer Willingness to Pay for Eggs from Welfare Enhanced Cage Systems using Discrete Choice Experime," 2017 Annual Meeting, July 30-August 1, Chicago, Illinois 258545, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

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    Keywords

    ; eggs; choice experiment; framing; enhanced cage; furnished cage;

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