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Poultry industry looks to tackle 'dead on arrival' welfare issues

The British Poultry Council emphasised the numbers were down to processes and people - not farming methods.


Alex   Black

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Alex   Black
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‘Dead on arrival’ poultry numbers down to process not farming system

Figures from the Food Standards Authority (FSA) obtained by the i newspaper and Bureau of Investigative Journalism revealed 1.35m chickens had died over a 15 month period in 2016 and 2017.

 

The figures represent a fraction the number of poultry raised and slaughtered in the UK each year with 950m birds reared annually for meat.

 

Richard Griffiths, chief executive of the British Poultry Council, said this equated to around four to seven birds in every lorry of 6,000 birds.

 

Welfare

 

But he emphasised any animal welfare issue concerned those involved in the industry.

 

“Nobody wants dead on arrivals. It is not good for birds, it is not good for business either,” he said.


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However, he dismissed comments from Compassion in World Farming who linked the figures to intensive farming.

 

“The outdoor birds have same sort of level. This is about process, it is about people,” Mr Griffiths said.

 

“It has nothing to do with how the birds are grown. I think all birds, whatever process they are grown under, face health challenges.

 

“There are areas to look at in whatever method.”

 

Farmers

 

He added no farmer wants to compromise on the health and welfare of their livestock.

 

“All farmers want to do a good job.”

He said the industry had come a long way with things such as improved monitoring systems making a significant difference to identifying where problems may occur.

 

But Mr Griffiths called on the industry to take a holistic approach and look at whole flock welfare.

 

“There will always be challenges in terms of changes in weather.

 

“What we need to make sure is that process is adhered to and all people involved have a deep understanding of their role. From people on the ground up to management.”

 

He said they had to identify where in the chain improvements could be made in catching and transportation.

 

This included looking at the equipment itself, from lorries to the crates used, as well as the process once birds reach the slaughterhouse.

 

“Those are areas we do look at alongside the training of everyone involved.”

FG subs FINAL 2017

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