News update:Sep 21, 2006

Broilers have it better in New Zealand

Research into the welfare of commercial broiler chickens has found that birds in New Zealand have welfare standards equal or superior to that of broilers kept elsewhere.

The mortality of birds was found to be at the lower end of industry levels overseas.  Leg cull mortality was about half that reported in two recent UK studies and the proportion of birds with severe leg weakness was about one quarter that reported in the UK, Denmark and Sweden.
The aim of the research was to identify appropriate welfare indicators for broilers and then apply them to quantify the welfare status of New Zealand commercial broiler flocks. Research was carried out on 36 New Zealand housed commercial broiler farms in each season and within the context of the typical management of the birds.
A range of measures were used to assess welfare including: the incidence and causes of mortalities and culls; skin disorders of the feet, hocks and breasts; gait score and the incidence of back scratches; birds dead on arrival and rejects. The research is based on methods used in a University of Bristol survey that has benchmarked broiler welfare in the UK and is internationally credible.

Editor WorldPoultry

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