Visitor Surveys as Part of the Transparency Campaign

Transparency in the poultry industry
1st project period: 01.01.2012 – 30.09.2015
2nd project period: 01.10.2015 – 30.09.2019
3rd project period: from 01.10.2019

Funding: Lower Saxony Poultry Association (Landesverband der Niedersächsischen Geflügelwirtschaft e.V., NGW)

Objective: By opening up mainly Lower Saxony farms involved with egg production and poultry fattening, the intention is to convey a realistic and up-to-date picture of modern poultry farming. In addition, empirical data collection in the context of farm openings, which will provide an overview of the settings for intensive poultry husbandry before and after the visit to the stables and the origin, age and social structure of the visitors. Interim reports are regularly published in specialist publications and presented at national and international conferences.

Results: From September 2012 to September 2019, around 17,000 visitors informed themselves about modern poultry farming in Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia and Hessen, with the vast majority of all open days taking place in Lower Saxony (44). So far, 50 farms, including laying hen husbandry, young broiler husbandry, turkey husbandry and goose husbandry, have opened their stables.

So far, 7,300 visitors could be interviewed before and after. Farmers and employees in the agricultural sector were not included in the analyses so that 5,000 questionnaires were evaluated. This should exclude a more positive assessment of poultry husbandry by professional colleagues. About two-thirds of the respondents were positively impressed by the poultry keeping after the visit to the barn. The proportion of critical votes declined from 19 % previously to 12 % after being guided through the poultry house.

The surveys have made it possible to monitor social opinions about poultry over a longer period within the industry. The fact that the reservations have increased since the project began is a sign that more and more people are actively thinking about animal husbandry and nutrition. However, this mainly happens theoretically and superficially, because, as the results show, there is a significant shift in attitude as soon as people can look at the reality in the stables and obtain information.

Engaging with consumers and inviting them into the stables remains one of the most effective ways to successfully address poultry acceptance issues and build trust. In addition to the public days of the open poultry house, interest groups such as journalists and politicians are led through the stables. Additional excursions were organised for school classes, teachers' colleges and students. As a result, visitors were able to learn about the entire value creation chain of poultry meat production, from feed production and breeding and fattening of the animals to slaughtering and processing at these selected sites. A pre- and post-instruction in the classroom as well as the provision of tailor-made teaching materials individually tuned to subjects and topics were also provided by WING.

In total, there were 100 appointed times with various educational institutions from 2016-2019.

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