GCAW’s Broiler Chicken Welfare Working Group is focused on addressing the barriers to progress for member companies, and others, in achieving improvements in broiler chicken welfare. In recent months, the group has been focused on the potential for welfare outcome measures to help drive welfare improvements for broiler chickens and has received expert briefings on the topic from speakers at the Royal Agricultural University (UK), Global Animal Partnership and the International Poultry Welfare Alliance.
In contrast to input or resource-based measures, which focus on the management practices and external resources provided to animals, welfare outcome measures (WOMs) assess how an animal is coping with its environment. Welfare outcome measures cover the lifespan of the animals and can be collected on farm, during transport and at slaughter. Such measures are ‘animal-based’, meaning that they focus on the animal itself (such as its health and behaviour), rather than conditions external to the animal.
GCAW’s Broiler Chicken Welfare Working Group have developed a GCAW Recommendation on the Use of Welfare Outcome Measures for Broiler Chickens which sets out GCAW’s recommendations for using welfare outcome measures alongside input-based measures for supporting improvements in broiler chicken welfare.
- Monitor both input-based measures and welfare outcome measures to provide data that can be used to inform changes in management practices and drive continuous improvement in broiler chicken welfare.
- Focus initially on recommended welfare outcome measures for broiler chickens: Impaired mobility; Skin lesions on footpad, hock or breast; Mortality, cull rate and DOA (dead-on-arrival); and Injuries and fractures (legs and wings).
- Where available, adopt standardized protocols for measurement of welfare outcome measures in order to improve data reliability and comparability and align demands of producers.
- Engage closely with supply chain partners and producers when designing and managing welfare outcome measure programmes to ensure the protocols are practical and produce reliable data.
- Publicly report welfare outcome measure performance to help identify industry-level barriers to progress and priority areas for improving broiler chicken welfare.
The GCAW Recommendation on the Use of Welfare Outcome Measures for Broiler Chickens can be downloaded here.GCAW-Recommendation-on-the-use-of-Welfare-Outcome-Measures-for-Broiler-Chickens