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Broiler Breeder Welfare Rules under Review

by 5m Editor
29 September 2010, at 9:54a.m.

NEW ZEALAND - National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) is reviewing conditions to improve welfare for broiler breeders, particularly regarding stocking density.

According to Top News of New Zealand, animal welfare advisors have told Agriculture Minister, David Carter, that they are in process of developing a new and separate code for the welfare of the chickens used for breeding the broilers.

The draft code has been released for public, as the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) has completed its review of the welfare code, 2003, for broiler chicken meat.

The major change is the incorporation of the new standards for free-range broiler chickens. Irrespective of the housing system, the draft code will be applicable to all broiler chickens.

Stocking levels have already been revised by the NAWAC last year, so the review emphasised on the importance of the managing the internal environment of the shed.

NAWAC is planning to propose that the stocking levels must be in proportion to litter quality, and air temperature, humidity and quality to reduce the lameness, injury, and illness and fast growth rate. This leads to bone defects and deformation in chickens that includes 'creepers', and is also known to be associated with bird sudden death syndrome.

Minimum standards in the draft code of the NAWAC covers the majority of fields such as stock levels, food and water, shelter and equipment, lighting, air ventilation, temperature control, litter management, stocking densities, behavioral needs, catching, loading and transport, humane destruction and hatchery management.

NAWAC reported that in New Zealand, more than 80 million broiler chickens are being grown every year for the cause of meat, according to Top News.