The Benefits of Farm Animal Welfare Legislation: The Case of the EU Broiler Directive and Truthful Reporting

Richard Bennett*, Kevin Balcombe, Philip Jones, Andrew Butterworth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)


The EU Broiler Directive came into force in the UK in June 2010 with the aim of setting new minimum standards, monitoring broiler welfare and addressing any welfare problems. A survey questionnaire was used to elicit information from a stratified sample of citizens in England and Wales regarding their willingness to pay for the provisions of the Directive, as an estimate of the consumer surplus associated with the legislation. We also explore the usefulness of Prelec's () Bayesian Truth Serum (BTS) in promoting respondents’ truthful reporting. A median willingness to pay of £21.50 per household per year (corrected for sample bias and possible ‘yea saying’) was estimated from 665 responses. This provides an estimated benefit of the legislation to citizens of over £503 million per year, equivalent to 5.3% of current consumer expenditure on chicken. This compares to an estimated £22 million per year cost of producers’ compliance and government enforcement associated with the legislation. No statistically significant differences in responses between respondents that did and did not have a BTS incentive to answer questions truthfully were found, which might reflect apparently truthful answers in this case, an insufficiently strong financial incentive or a weakened effect due to an element of disbelief in the BTS amongst the sample. The analysis suggests that the benefits of the Broiler Directive to citizens greatly outweigh the additional costs to producers, making a case for the legislation to be retained.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Agricultural Economics
Early online date25 May 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 May 2018


  • Animal welfare
  • Bayesian Truth Serum
  • EU broiler legislation
  • truthful reporting
  • willingness to pay


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