In March 2000, the European Commission adopted the report of the scientific committee on the animal health and welfare on “the welfare of chickens kept for meat production (broilers)”. Now, 10 years later, the rules come into effect.
The Directive came into force in 2007 and is to be implemented in national law by June 30, 2010. The scope applies to broilers but not for farms with fewer than 500 chickens, breeders, hatcheries and extensive indoor or free-range chickens.
The broiler directive has 3 steps of welfare regulations. The first step sets demands on drinkers, litter, ventilation and heating, noise emissions, air quality and hygiene. Maximum number of broilers is set to 33 kg live weight per sq. m.
Farmers who take additional measures are allowed to increase the occupancy level to 39 kg per sq. m. They have to keep an administration and report the increased occupancy to the Ministry of Agriculture. A further increase to 42 kg per sq. m. is possible if the farmer fulfils additional conditions on use of GMP and reduces of mortality.