Optical Distortion Case Study

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Optical Distortion, Inc (ODI) is a company that has developed special contact lenses to harmful impact the eyesight of egg-laying chickens. The reduced vision from the contact lenses helps preserve the life of chickens, increase the productivity of egg laying and reduce costs for farmers using the lenses for their flocks. At the end of 1974, ODI’s owners and management were finalizing a strategic marketing plan to introduce the lenses commercially early in 1975 and work towards nationwide penetration within 5 years. The poultry and egg production industry began as a form of family barnyards and backyards. Innovations in the housing and care for egg laying hens lead to the consolidation of commercial egg laying farms from over 5.8 million in 1935 to only 471,284 in 1969. The trend of consolidation was projected to continue and by 1974, 80% of the over 440 million egg laying chickens in the USA were housed on only 3% of the then known chicken farms. A study performed in 1969 showed that California had the largest state population of chickens with over 46 million chickens reported and almost 55 million chickens in the pacific region alone. With the increased population and concentration of chickens on farms with less and less space for chickens to live in, several behavioral problems were amplified including cannibalism from resulting from the “pecking order” of chickens. The pecking order is a social tool that chickens use to order chickens in a group and to identify dominance within the flocks. This lead to the least dominant chickens being attacked, pecked to death and eaten by its own flock. Debeaking was the most common way to reduce the deaths by cannibalism from 25% to 9%. The side effects of debeaking caused a reduction in egg production, increased the recovery time to begin laying eggs again and increased social stress among the flock that further harmed egg production. ODI had tested the lenses on chickens on several farms in California and Oregon with...
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