The quarterly meeting for all GCAW members was held on 26 July 2023.
The group was pleased to welcome guest speaker David Speller, Founder and CEO of Optifarm for an expert briefing about technology as an enabler for driving improvements in animal welfare at scale.
From his own experience of managing broiler farms, David spoke about the enormous amount of data available that points to a potential problem on farm, but its limitations for identifying the causes of issues and for signalling the immediate actions that could be taken to resolve them. He explained how taking a hybrid approach, which embraces emerging smart technologies and human husbandry skills, has produced the necessary actionable insight to deliver productivity and welfare gains for poultry and pigs. Crucially, using technology such as artificial intelligence to identify short-term changes in data collected on farm, rather than relying only on welfare outcome data collected at the slaughterhouse, can enable quick action to be taken to improve the welfare of relatively short-lived farm animals, such as broiler chickens.
Activity updates were invited from all members and from across GCAW’s three working groups, in particular:
- The Laying Hen Welfare Working Group’s progress on coordinated supplier engagement and its analysis of cage-free challenges by country. These findings will be published shortly.
- The Broiler Chicken Welfare Working Group’s focus on developing guidance on roadmapping of welfare commitments, informed by regional insights.
- The Pig Welfare Working Group’s discussion on transitioning away from the use of castration through the use of immunocastration.