Monday, November 27, 2017

New poultry welfare standards

Animal Health Australia has invited public submissions on new welfare standards for chickens.
Interested people are invited to participate in the public consultation on the draft Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Poultry. The consultation period begins today and closes on 26 February 2018. It is important thatsubmissions are made by a wide range of stakeholders to provide governments with a high level of confidence that wide views have been considered.         Email submissions to Animal Health Australia. The proposed new welfare standards for poultry announced by AHA ,appear to be a waste of time. A section in the Regulation Impact Statement demonstrates that the over-riding consideration is financial and that both animal welfare and consumer expectations are secondary concerns. in the document AHA states:‘It is possible to have a physically healthy productive animal that is in a poor state of welfare due to, for instance, mental stress. Indeed, apart from physiological functioning, physical condition and performance – brain state, behaviour, and even an animal’s emotions are now all recognised as key factors in assessing an animal’s welfare. In terms of this broader understanding of animal welfare there can be insufficient economic incentive for a poultry farm to reduce risks to animal welfare, especially where doing so would increase costs with little or no offsetting gains to the business. In fact, egg laying rates are higher in cages than in barns or free range farms; and lowering stocking densities in non-cage egg production systems provides no offsetting benefits to the producer". A better approach would be to adopt the existing Model Code as the standard. It would be more effective and far less costly.

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