Animal Protection and Ostriches in the EU
The EU Council Directive 98/58 “concerning the protection of animals kept for farming purposes” states that animal breeding should avoid procedures that cause suffering or injury to any of the animals concerned.
The EU Council Directive 98/58
“concerning the protection of animals kept for farming purposes
” states that animal breeding should avoid procedures that cause suffering or injury to any of the animals concerned.
The Directive prohibits the breeding of animals if it causes detrimental effects on the animal’s health or welfare. Improving ostrich management and breeding methods and avoiding some detrimental effects on ostrich health and welfare (ie abnormal behaviour like chick pecking, or stress-related diseases like proventricular impaction) is possible.
It also prohibits the keeping of animals for farming purposes “unless it can reasonably be expected, on the basis of its genotype or phenotype, that it can be kept without detrimental effect on its health or welfare”, this should not be evaluated solely on the basis of management procedures or the farm owner’s responsibility. The degree of adaptation and versatility of each species should not be forgotten when implementing high protection directives.
Therefore more studies are needed to:
– avoid some of those negative effects, ie in-breeding related, probably skeletal deformities in ostriches
– improve ostrich genetic selection, ie breeder stocks for meat-aptitude phenotype
– as well as reproduction technical management, ie artificial incubation and insemination.
This is an indispensable requirement and the first step for adaptation. So if EU ostrich production needs protection standards, there should be two standards, considering that ostriches are at the beginning of adaptation:
1) to provide facilities extensive keeping with enough activity for the first days of life, including daily pasture grazing and appropriate food and,
2) to avoid behaviour disorders, especially in chicks.
The compliance of other higher protection standards included in the Directive depends on research development under different climatic and management conditions, and, of course, EU funding.
I am sure EU Veterinary Inspectors will agree that in ostrich farming adapting to captivity is not only dependent on protection and management procedures, but also on advance in ostrich research under scientists responsibility.
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