Poultry International - June 2017 - 16
This is the ﬁfth article in
WATT Global Media's
100-year anniversary series.
Future of poultry welfare:
What producers can expect
Attitudes to poultry welfare still vary greatly from market
to market, but ever-more alignment can be expected as
interest in animal welfare grows.
BY MARK CLEMENTS
Poultry producers can expect welfare pressures to
continue growing, probably at a greater pace than they
have seen to date, necessitating ongoing changes to
broiler and layer management.
Various welfare bodies emerged in the 19th century, growing in number in the 20th, but it has been
in the 21st that interest has spread and intensified, and
there are no signs that the pace of change will abate.
Welfare is a focus now not only of governments and
interest groups but, increasingly, of multinational companies, and the latter will have ever-greater influence
on the future of poultry welfare.
production is seen
by many as being
the most welfare
Even in societies where welfare is deemed a priority, a one-size-fits-all view remains on a far distant
horizon, but the interest, and a follow-thy-neighbor approach, will see the world become ever more aligned.
For those that resist incorporating welfare demands,
it is worth remembering that certain practices now
standard in many markets, for example stunning preslaughter, were once novel.
On the near horizon
Developed-world producers are already confronting a number of challenges that may eventually spread throughout developing markets, with
commitments to phase out layer cages, perhaps
the most high profile. The compromise solution in
Europe implemented only a few years ago - furnished cages - is increasingly unacceptable, highlighting the pace of change.
For egg producers, this will not simply be new investment, but thoroughly reviewing flock management, and
where welfare is concerned, views are mixed on benefits
Interest in slower-growing birds is a similar example
of how welfare attitudes vary greatly between groups, as
speed of growth alone is not universally seen as among
the best welfare indicators. Nevertheless, welfare-motivated consumer demand in this area continues rising
and the industry must respond.
Where beak trimming is concerned, banned in
some countries and regions, its prohibition could
www.WATTAgNet.com ❙ June 2017