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Animal welfare versus food quality: Factors influencing organic consumers' preferences for alternatives to piglet castration without anesthesia

Agricultural Communications Documentation Center (ACDC)
Heid, Astrid (main author), Hamm, Ulrich (author)
Online journal article
Publication Date:
USA: Elsevier
Agricultural Communications Documentation Center, Funk Library, University of Illinois
Subject Term:
animal rights, communication needs, focus groups, food safety, influences, information needs, organic farming, pigs, vaccination, auctions, animal welfare, European Union (EU), survey research, Germany (Europe), willingness to pay, consumer preference, qualitative research
9 pages., Via online journal., Surgical piglet castration without pain relief has been banned in organic farming in the EU since the beginning of 2012. Alternative methods therefore need to be implemented that improve animal welfare and solve the underlying problem of boar taint. This paper explores German organic consumers' preferences for piglet castration without pain relief and three alternative methods. In an innovative approach using a multi-criteria decision making procedure, qualitative data from focus group discussions were compared with quantitative results from Vickrey auctions. Overall, participants preferred all alternatives to castration without pain relief. Different aspects influenced willingness-to-pay for the methods. Animal welfare was important for the evaluation of castration without pain relief and castration with anesthesia. Food safety played a major role for willingness-to-pay for immunocastration, while taste and, to some extent, animal welfare were dominant factors for fattening of boars. These differences should be considered when communicating the alternatives.