Responsible Innovation in Layer Poultry Farming: Are Organic Consumers Sufficiently Informed about the Current Situation of Killing Day-old Male Chicks to Contribute to the Innovation Process?

Iris Schröter, Marcus Mergenthaler


Currently, there is no societal consensus on the handling of male chicks in layer poultry farming. When searching for responsible innovation in the face of ethical concerns due to the killing of these day-old male chicks, consumers as main stakeholders should be involved in the innovation process. However, participation in the innovation process requires sufficient knowledge of the current situation and its alternatives, since only this knowledge allows informed judgments. In order to gain insights into consumers’ knowledge and attitudes regarding the alternatives of rearing the male chicks, we conducted 146 tablet-aided standardised personal interviews with customers of a German organic butcher’s shop, as consumers of organic food may be a target group for cockerel products. The results reveal the respondents’ profound disapproval about the current situation of killing day-old male chicks, but also show a considerable lack of knowledge. We conclude that comprehensive educational work is necessary to enable consumers to form a sound opinion and to participate in the innovation process.


layer poultry farming; male chicks; responsible innovation; knowledge; attitudes

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ISSN 1869-6945


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