Animal welfare campaign charity Compassion in World Farming has criticised the spread of multi-tier colony and netted systems for broilers around the globe.
In a new report, the charity said it had concerns about net flooring systems, mainly used in Asian countries like China and Thailand, and modern caged systems, which are gaining in popularity in countries like Turkey and Russia.
CIWF said research into multi-tiered systems with different floor types was conducted in the 1970s but abandoned due to the birds not being able to move their wings or exercise.
“While these systems were never widely adopted in Europe and the United States, due to increasing pressure on high volume – low margin economies in broiler production, and the drive to rear ever increasing numbers of broilers from a given area, caged systems (multi-tier colony cages or containers) are on the rise.”
There was however praise for some EU countries in the report, Sweden, it said, has made the provision of natural light mandatory across its broiler farms.
Commenting on standard broiler production, the report noted broiler chickens were mostly “ground-reared” in sheds on a litter floor, with substrates such as wood shavings, chopped rice hulls and straw. Usually, they do not have access to natural light.
It said broiler sheds were usually “barren and stocked at high densities (for example a derogation up to 42kg/square metre under EU legislation). In warmer counties, or in higher welfare systems, lower stocking densities are in place (for example 30 kg/square metre) in higher welfare indoor systems.”