Study Raises Issue With Broiler Chicken Welfare
According to this study in the United Kingdom, the huge increase in growth rates of broiler chickens means that more than a quarter of these birds have difficulty walking. This raises serious animal welfare concerns as consumers currently know little about broiler chickens and how they are reared, but are shocked when presented with this information.
According to this study, “Since the sustainability of intensive broiler production depends on continued consumer acceptance of the farming practices involved, the broiler industry will need to work with the scientific community to develop more robust and healthier genotypes and to ensure that optimal husbandry and management practices are fully implemented.”
Due to the short reproductive cycle and the popularity of chickens raised as food, the raising of poultry is a target for intensive systems of production, which results in reduced welfare for the birds.
A study of five major United Kingdom producers who account for more than half of poultry production showed that at an average of 40 days, 27.6% of birds showed poor locomotion and 3.3% were almost unable to walk.
The study calls for an informed debate regarding current production practices, for a balance to be drawn “between profitability and our moral obligation to maintain good standards of animal welfare.”