People's Willingness to Pay for Farm Animal Welfare
There has been increasing policy debate about farm animal welfare over the last 5-10 years in a number of countries, particularly concerning the need for government intervention, for example by means of legislation. Assessment of farm animal welfare policy requires some evaluation of the associated relative costs and benefits involved. When considering the benefits, it is desirable not only to collate scientific evidence about the effects of policy on the welfare of animals but, also on the extent to which citizens in society want such a policy and the benefits that they perceive to result from it. This paper describes an exploratory survey which tests the application of a technique, contingent valuation, to estimate, in money terms, the benefits that people perceive to be associated with specific measures to improve farm animal welfare through eliciting their willingness to pay for welfare legislation (a case-study relating to the banning of battery cages in egg production is used). The study shows that the methodology could provide very useful information to policy makers and others interested in public perceptions and concerns about animal welfare, and public support for animal welfare policies.
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