US poultry org revises well-being guidelines
To assist chicken producers and processors that all animals being raised for food are treated with respect, the National Chicken Council (NCC) in 1999 developed the NCC Animal Welfare Guidelines and Audit Checklist.
The guidelines have been widely adopted by chicken farmers and processors to ensure all US chickens are being properly cared for and treated humanely. Periodically revised, the guidelines cover every phase of a chicken's life and offer the most up-to-date, science-based recommendations for the proper treatment and humane care of broiler chickens – those chickens raised for meat.
The US national broiler flock is incredibly healthy and is the envy of the world. Mortality and condemnation rates for broilers, the most sensitive indicators of the health and well-being of any flock, are at historical lows.
Building on that success, the 2014 update of the NCC Animal Welfare Guidelines has more substance than ever before and incorporates new parameters to improve bird welfare. The new guidelines include a whistleblower protection, more assistance for training programs for proper handling, more documentation and monitoring of various practices and a more streamlined auditing tool for ease of auditing.
"The chicken industry has come together on a specific set of expectations that will continue to ensure the birds we raise are taken care of with the highest standards starting at hatch," said NCC president Mike Brown.
The guidelines were updated with assistance from an academic advisory panel consisting of poultry welfare experts and veterinarians from across the United States. "We are very pleased with the inclusion of many of the panel's recommendations into this revision," said Dr Bilgili, who chaired the academic advisory panel. "As a result, the NCC Animal Welfare Program is significantly improved and, more importantly, the continued well-being of broiler chickens will be assured."
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