Estimation of the value the public places on regulations to improve broiler welfare
Animal welfare presents particular policy challenges. Good welfare provides private productivity benefits to producers and some level of positive external benefit to people who care about animal welfare status. But markets for welfare fail, meaning that private producers are unlikely to provide the correct level of external benefit and social welfare will not be maximised. Accordingly, there is a rationale for government to be involved in the provision of animal welfare. The public good nature of animal welfare supply presents policy challenges for government regulators. Specifically, in setting regulatory targets, Defra, as the regulator, aims to maximise social welfare by designing regulation that delivers benefits that are at least equal to regulatory costs at the margin. This means that regulatory targets must be informed by some assessment of benefits of welfare policies. This paper considers this problem in the context of the proposed EU Directive on broiler welfare. The paper describes the application of the contingent valuation method to measure the economic benefits of broiler welfare, and considers how the results inform welfare target setting.
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