|United Poultry Concerns submitted
the following poultry welfare recommendations to the OIE - International Organization for Animal Health - for
its Global Conference on Animal Welfare in Paris, February 23-25, 2004. This
conference may be the first step towards international standard setting in animal
welfare. From the OIE Briefing, 12 December 2003:
"The free-trade rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) have over the
last few years severely impeded attempts to secure improved standards of
animal welfare. One proposal that has been made for addressing this problem
is that global animal welfare standards should be established. Because of
the close link between animal health and animal welfare, the OIE has emerged
as the body which is to provide international leadership on animal welfare."
Mr. David Wilson, Head
International Trade Department OIE
12 rue de Prony 75017
Via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Mr. Wilson:
United Poultry Concerns is pleased that the OIE has chosen to provide international
leadership in animal welfare through the development of science-based standards
and guidelines, the provision of expert advice and the promotion of education
and research to improve animal welfare.
I am writing to you with a view to the OIE global conference on animal welfare
on 23-25 February 2004 in Paris. We would be pleased if the OIE would consider
our recommendations in developing welfare standards and guidelines affecting
the treatment of poultry in 1) catching and transport; 2) slaughter; and
3) housing and treatment.
Catching and Transport
a) Newly-hatched birds ("day-old" poultry) should
receive food and water within four to six hours of hatching. Transport of
newly-hatched birds should not exceed six hours, and air transport of newly-hatched
birds should be prohibited. Newly-hatched birds should be treated gently.
Trays of newly-hatched birds should not be thrown and banged into transport
b) Adult birds :
If hand-catching is used, birds should be caught and held by
both legs to reduce injuries and pain.
Untrained individuals should not be permitted to operate catching
Doors of cages, crates, drawers, etc. should be wide and high
enough to avoid injury to birds
Compartments in which birds are to be transported should be
deep and wide enough to reduce the suffering and injuries of birds.
Specific measurements to fit birds of standard weights should
be established and required.
Catching machines should be constructed and operated so as
not to sweep up floor litter along with the birds.
Stepping on and kicking birds should be prohibited.
Corral gates should not be used and birds should not be swung
up to loaders on a truck to be put into cages.
Transport and holding-dock time should be no more than 6 (six)
Catching, transport, and preslaughter holding systems should
be integrated with an automated catching machine placing birds in crates.
Modules of crates should be placed on environmentally-controlled trucks,
and the crates should be conveyed straight into a mixed-gas-stun/kill unit
at the slaughter plant.
Electrical immobilization including water-bath "stun" cabinets
and handheld stunners should be prohibited. Electrical "stunning" is intrinsically
cruel and cannot be regulated.
Conscious birds should not be hung upside down in shackles.
Both carotid arteries should be quickly severed to prevent
oxygenated blood from continuing to enter the brain.
Cutting only the jugular veins should be prohibited.
Gas stunning/killing using pure CO2 should be prohibited.
Birds should be stun/killed in the transport crates
with a mixture of 90% argon, 2% oxygen, and 8% nitrogen.
Residual oxygen should be maintained at less than 2% to ensure
rapid brain function loss, as air trapped between birds or crates or in the
feathers can raise the residual oxygen to levels that prevent loss of consciousness.
Bids should be killed, not merely stunned, by the gas mixture,
because if birds are only stunned rather than killed, they regain consciousness
Slaughterhouse workers should be trained and overseen by specially-trained
veterinarians throughout the slaughter process.
Use of 30% oxygen and 40% CO2 should be prohibited because
this mixture prolongs the time taken for birds to become unconscious.
Live birds should not be dumped in scalding tanks.
Conscious birds should not have their legs cut off to fit shackles
as has been reported in the United States when spent "broiler" breeder flocks
are sent to plants designed for slaughtering baby ("meat-type") birds.
Spent fowl should be stun/killed with a gas mixture the same
as young birds.
Housing and Treatment
a) Housing of Birds
Cages for laying hens and "meat-type" birds should be prohibited.
Ammonia levels at bird level should not exceed 15 ppm and preferably
should not exceed 10 ppm.
Solid-wall housing and tunnel-ventilated housing should be
prohibited. Housing should have side-to-side ventilation and be equipped
to allow natural airflow and sunlight. Houses that depend entirely on automated
ventilation and watering systems should be prohibited.
Birds should have adequate room to walk, sit, stand, lie down,
eat, stretch their wings and legs, and avoid physical contact with other
birds. Birds should be able to move about freely.
Birds should be housed in small units and/or partitioned sections
(preferably containing no more than 250 birds per section or unit) with sheltered
areas as well as open areas.
Birds should have fresh friable litter to scratch in, preferably
composed of peat, chopped straw and/or sand to assist in the removal of excess
oil and parasites, and to ensure good plumage. (To scratch, a 3-pound chicken
needs a minimum of 133 square inches.)
Birds should not be kept in the dark but should have good lighting
(500 lux) to avoid feather-pecking and maintain visual capability.
Birds - laying hens, "meat-type" birds, and parent flocks - should
have access to the outdoors, or, if kept indoors, be provided with environmental
enrichments (i.e. straw bales, alfalfa, fresh friable litter, scratch grains,
perches, dustbathing areas, and green cabbages), to encourage exercise and
sensory stimulation, relieve boredom, and reduce hyperaggressive behavior
learned helplessness caused by bad living conditions.
Fresh food and water should be easily accessible by each bird
at all times.
Ducks should have fresh water in which to swim and dabble.
At the very least, ducks should be provided with water deep enough to immerse
their entire heads in, as the health of ducks' eyes depends on frequent immersion,
throughout the day, of their eyes in water.
b) Treatment of Birds
Forced rapid growth of "meat-type" birds, resulting in painful
lameness, hip-joint degeneration, heart failure, ascites syndrome and other
metabolic pathologies should be prohibited.
Debeaking, debilling, comb dubbing, and detoeing should be
Nasal implants ("nozbonz') in male breeder flocks should be
Feeder grills for breeding flocks should be modified to prevent
male birds from putting their heads through food restriction grills where
they can get stuck.
Food and/or water deprivation should be prohibited.
Force-feeding should be prohibited.
Birds should have fresh nourishing food and clean fresh water
at all times.
Unwanted birds should not be buried alive, beaten to death,
or disposed of in tree-shredding machines.
Birds should be in the care of men and women who have been
trained to understand the birds' needs and to recognize and respond humanely
to their suffering. Birds should be in the care of people with ethical sensitivity
as well as technical skills.
Thank you for your attention to the recommendations of United Poultry Concerns
regarding the care, treatment, and housing of domestic fowl. Please do not
hesitate to contact United Poultry Concerns for additional information and
Karen Davis, PhD
United Poultry Concerns, Inc.
PO Box 150
Machipongo, Virginia USA 23405
United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization that promotes the compassionate
and respectful treatment of domestic fowl.
United Poultry Concerns, Inc.|
PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405-0150