Chicken meat growers take the welfare of their birds seriously for the following reasons:
Out of respect for the birds themselves, so they do not suffer
So that they grow as well and efficiently as possible and they are not damaged in the process
In recognition of and respect for community attitudes and expectations with respect to the humane treatment of livestock farmed specifically for their consumption.
Also available is our dedicated animal welfare site at www.chickenwelfare.com.au.
It makes economic sense to ensure flocks are maintained in an environment where they are comfortable, protected from injury, fed optimally and kept healthy.
For example, feeding a chicken represents more than 60% of the cost of raising a bird, Most feed is consumed in the latter stages of a bird’s growth when it is bigger and consuming more each day.
It isn’t acceptable on welfare grounds, and nor does it make economic sense, to raise a bird to an advanced stage for it to die of disease or be injured, en route to processing.
It is important that sick or injured birds receive prompt and appropriate treatment and that they do not suffer unnecessary pain, distress, fear or physical injury.
If a sick or injured bird cannot be treated, they should be culled quickly and humanely so that they do not suffer.
All birds are stunned and rendered insensible to pain prior to slaughter.
Conditions for the housing and management of chickens bred for meat (known as ‘broilers’) are set down in Government and industry-endorsed Codes of Practice designed to safeguard their welfare.
The industry has developed a model welfare audit program which covers hatchery, breeder rearing, breeder laying, grower, and the pick-up, transport and processing sectors.
Several companies have incorporated elements of this welfare audit in their own quality plans. All companies incorporate elements of good practice for bird welfare in their grower manuals.
Further information about animal welfare is available by clicking here.
Please refer to the industry's Statement on Animal Welfare, available as a PDF download here.
A copy of the Domestic Poultry Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals is here
The Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals on Land Transport of Poultry is also available for download. This code was reviewed in 2008 in the context of the implementation of the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy and the Land Transport Standards and Guidelines that were developed are being implemented by the States and Territories through adoption in their legislation. More details about the Land Transport Standards, including the final document, is available from http://www.animalwelfarestandards.net.au/land-transport/ .
The Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals - Livestock at Slaughtering Establishments (published in 2002) also applies to the meat chicken industry.
Model Codes of Practice are also available from CSIRO Publishing.