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‘Do not ban free-range chickens’

by 5m Editor
10 February 2006, at 12:00am

THE NETHERLANDS - Allowing chickens to roam outside freely without a roof over their heads on Dutch chicken farms presents risks to public health and food safety. Chickens could become infected with bird flu and take up too much dioxin. But a ban on free-range chickens is not necessary according to experts from Wageningen UR. There are enough other ways to reduce the risks. ‘It is much too simplistic to ban housing systems intended to promote the welfare of animals because they present increased health risks. It is not possible to guarantee a one-hundred-percent safe product from regular systems either. It is important to inform consumers better, however, so that they can consider both the safety and animal-welfare aspects of a product,’ says Martien Bokma, researcher at the Animal Science Group in Lelystad. She worked on a study of the food safety aspects of animal-friendly housing systems. The results were announced this week. The study examined the tensions betweens animal welfare and food safety. The most important recommendation is that managers of animal-friendly systems try to prevent contact between farm animals and wild fauna. ‘The isolation of commercially kept animals from wild fauna, in order to prevent the transfer of infectious diseases, should always be the objective. <i>Source: www.wb-online.nl</i>

5m Editor