Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 532592
Title A Public Survey on Handling Male Chicks in the Dutch Egg Sector
Author(s) Gremmen, H.G.J.; Bruijnis, M.R.N.; Blok, V.; Stassen, E.N.
Source Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 31 (2018)1. - ISSN 1187-7863 - p. 93 - 107.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/s10806-018-9712-0
Department(s) Philosophy
WASS
Adaptation Physiology
Management Studies
WIAS
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2018
Keyword(s) animal ethics - animal welfare - chicks - laying hens - public opinion
Abstract In 2035 global egg demand will have risen 50% from 1985. Because we are not able to tell in the egg whether it will become a male or female chick, billons of one day-old male chicks will be killed. International research initiatives are underway in this area, and governments encourage the development of an alternative with the goal of eliminating the culling of day-old male chicks. The Netherlands holds an exceptional position in the European egg trade, but is also the only country in the European Union where the downside of the egg sector, the practice of killing day-old male chicks, is a recurrent subject of societal debate. ‘Preventing the killing of young animals’ and ‘in ovo sex determination’ are the two alternative approaches available to solve this problem. It is clear that both approaches solve the problem of killing day-old male chicks, either by keeping them alive or by preventing them from living, but they also raise a lot of new animal welfare-related dilemmas. A thorough analysis was undertaken of these dilemmas and the results are presented in this article. The analysis resulted in an ethical framework based on the two main approaches in bioethics: a consequentialist approach and a deontological approach. This ethical framework was used to develop an online survey administered to ascertain Dutch public opinion about these alternative approaches. The results show that neither alternative will be fully accepted, or accepted by more than half of Dutch society. However, the survey does provide an insight into the motives that are important for people’s choice: food safety and a good treatment of animals. Irrespective of the approach chosen, these values should be safeguarded and communicated clearly.
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