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Research Projects

Ethics in Poultry Production


The dissertation focuses on the currently dominant forms of poultry production under critical ethical issues. Special attention is paid to the intensive poultry industry.

Author: Verena Görtler

Science and Information Centre for Sustainable Poultry Production, University Vechta (Germany)

Abstract: In the German food industry poultry production plays an important role. This dissertation focuses on the poultry production in Lower Saxony (including Bremen and Hamburg), having a poultry population density of 50,6 million chickens in 2010 and thus 44,6% of the entire poultry population in Germany. Followed by Bavaria with a total amount of 10,5 million chickens and therefore 9,2% of the German poultry population (Statista-Homapage 2013).

Currently, there is a controversy between the growth prognosis of the production sector, demanding a high degree of mechanization in the intensive livestock production systems on the one side, and the striving of society for organic-ethical agriculture on the other.

The image of romantic farming is influenced by media campaigns, animal rights groups as well as daily media. The repetition of scandals and the debates on rising food consumption exacerbate the situation for the consumer to get an idea of a neutral and realistic picture of modern production systems.

The firms along the value chain of the poultry processing industry are becoming increasingly responsible actors for ethical issues and due to their position are subject of the actual discussion.

At the interface of consumer behavior and corporate responsibility the concept of “Corporate Social Responsibility” (CSR) in agribusiness becomes effective, which is the content of this dissertation. The focus is the study of CSR-measures from the firm’s perspective.

By means of interdisciplinary research approaches, the predominant production methods and systems are being analyzed. Of special interest is the research question, whether ethical aspects are respected and if so, how? Further, the business ethics of firms will be done as well as an evaluation of CSR-preferences along the value chain in poultry industry.


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