Measuring Consumer Benefits Of Improving Farm Animal Welfare
This study examines changes in consumers’ willingness to pay for various welfare standards of farmed animals. The study is interested in whether introducing a labeling system in the U.K., indicating the welfare standards of farmed animals before they were slaughtered, would be feasible.
The study found that most respondents thought that meat from animals with higher welfare standards “is healthier (78%); better tasting (71.7%); has better nutritional value (72%); has better food safety (75%); and is better for the environment (72.3%).” This translated to respondents stating they would be willing to increase their monthly expenditures on meat for animals raised with higher welfare standards. On average they would increase their monthly meat expenditures by 26% for meat with a welfare score of 60, 30% for a score of 70, 32% for a score of 80 and 34% for a score of 90.
“Policy makers in the European Union are envisioning the introduction of a community farm animal welfare label which would allow consumers to align their consumption habits with their farm animal welfare preferences. For welfare labelling to be viable the market for livestock products produced to higher welfare standards has to be sufficiently segmented with consumers having sufficiently distinct and behaviourally consistent preferences.”
“The present study investigates consumers’ preferences for meat produced to different welfare standards using a hypothetical welfare score. Data is obtained from a contingent valuation study carried out in Britain. The ordered probit model was estimated using Bayesian inference to obtain mean willingness to pay. We find decreasing marginal WTP as animal welfare levels increase and that people’s preferences for different levels of farm animal welfare are sufficiently differentiated making the introduction of a labelling scheme in the form of a certified rating system appear feasible.”