Historical overview of male day-old chicks as animal feed
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Historical overview of male day-old chicks as animal feed

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In 2013, more than 150 million chicks per year, male day-old chicks are used as high quality and nutritious ingredient on the diet of hundreds of species of wild animals that are held in zoos and ...

In 2013, more than 150 million chicks per year, male day-old chicks are used as high quality and nutritious ingredient on the diet of hundreds of species of wild animals that are held in zoos and breading centers.

In the past 30 years, the use of day-old chicks have been changed, from animal waste to high-end food for birds of pray, cranes and other animals living in zoos and fauna parks around the world. This change has become possible first, after the introduction of techniques to kill the animals without unnecessary stress or pain.

With the use of technology and daring to think out of the box and the entrepreneurial courage of only a view, the majority of all male day-old chicks that are produced in Europe are now being treated with respect during slaughter, completely in line with the EU directives EU 1099/2009 and EU 1069/2009.

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    Historical overview of male day-old chicks as animal feed Historical overview of male day-old chicks as animal feed Document Transcript

    • The history of day-old chicks as animal feed Author: Harm Kiezebrink, expert and principal consultant Abstract In 2013, more than 150 million chicks per year, male day-old chicks are used as high quality and nutritious ingredient on the diet of hundreds of species of wild animals that are held in zoos and breading centers. In the past 30 years, the use of day-old chicks have been changed, from animal waste to high-end food for birds of pray, storks, raptors, cranes and other animals living in zoos and fauna parks around the world. This change has become possible first, after the introduction of techniques to kill the animals without unnecessary stress or pain. With the use of technology and daring to think out of the box and the entrepreneurial courage of only a view, the majority of all male day-old chicks that are produced in Europe are now being treated with respect during slaughter, completely in line with the EU directives EU 1099/2009 and EU 1069/2009. All rights reserved. Publishing is allowed only after permission of the author Harm Kiezebrink h.kiezebrink@N2GF.com Page 1 10/28/2013
    • Day-old chicks as zoo- and raptor food: how it started in 1984 In 1984, the first project started, testing different techniques to kill male day-old chicks. Different prototypes of machines using different techniques were developed: electrocution (rollers of electrically charged chains); maceration (rotating blades of knifes; and a Co2 cabinet (a gas chamber with conveyor belts, filled with a high concentration of Co2). None of the prototypes were a success, but to come to a conclusion, maceration of chickens and killing the chicks by a high dozes of Co2 where considered to be the best possible options. These experiments formed the basis for the first animal welfare legislation that set the procedure how to handle male day-old chicks. Zoo-, raptor- and pet food From the beginning of the ‘90ties, it became popular to use day-old chicks as food for cats and birds of pray. Most of the time, cat owners, falconers and zoos visited the hatcheries regularly to collect a bag of dead day old chicks. It was cheap, and the hatchery got rid of their hatchery waste, although the quality was very poor. EU Directive 93/119: the start of EU regulation on killing day-old chicks The outcome of this experiment became part of the basis for the first EU Directive, prior to EU 93/119. In Annex G, the terms and conditions were mention, and they were very vague: Permitted methods for the killing of chicks
 1. Use of a mechanical apparatus causing rapid death 2. Exposure to carbon dioxide 3. However, the competent authority may permit the use of other scientifically recognized killing methods provided that they comply with the general provisions Specific requirements
 1. Use of a mechanical apparatus producing rapid death
 a. The animals must be killed by an apparatus which contains rapidly rotating mechanically operated killing blades or expanded polystyrene projections b. The capacity of the apparatus must be sufficient to ensure that all animals are killed immediately, even if they are handled in large numbers 2. Exposure to carbon dioxide
 a. The animals must be placed in an atmosphere with the highest obtainable concentration of carbon dioxide, supplied by a source of 100 % carbon dioxide b. The animals must remain in this atmosphere until they are dead. Plastic bags with a tube of Co2 The requirements were so vague because that the inspection was not able to enforce the directive. The industry could successfully argue that they ‘placed the chicks in a ton filled with the ‘highest’ obtainable concentration (filled with a tube) of Co2, from a 100% source’. As a matter of fact, the hatcheries were obeying the EU Directive at that time, but in practice, the supplied gas had no use at all to stun the chicks. After they were dropped in the container, the pure weight of the chickens Harm Kiezebrink h.kiezebrink@N2GF.com Page 2 10/28/2013
    • was the source of dead, not the gas. The truth was that besides the macerator, gas machines to fulfill the EU Directive only existed on paper. The reality was a complete different story. The chicks were dropped in a plastic bag with a tube of Co2 what had no result on the animal welfare whatsoever: the chicks were killed purely by the weight of the next layer of chickens dropped on top, not the gas. Day-old chicks: hatchery waste or valuable zoo food? So despite the official stories told by the hatcheries that they were using a macerator or a bag with a tube of Co2; the truth was somewhat different: the macerators were only used to crush egg shells and the chicks were given away or sold directly from the hatchery as zoo- raptor- an pet food. Needless to say that the upcoming animal welfare community noticed that in one way or the other, day-old chicks found their way into the zoo- and pet food chain were in constant struggle with the poultry industry about the assumed neglecting of animal welfare standards. Those chicks should come from somewhere, and hatcheries where the only source. Bad quality – low bio security The quality of the chicks as zoo- and pet food at that time was extremely poor. The process of killing the animals is plastic bags caused extremely high temperature just after the killing of the animals, due to the moistures’ environment combined with the high temperature in the hatchery, and the body temperature of the chicks. For this reason, the chickens had to be cooled until they could be processed. This cooling down process was usually done under low bio security circumstances outside the hatchery, where the bag was spread out on a concrete floor. This process took most of the time place outside the scope of the common eye. The damage to the quality of the chicken was mostly already done during the time the chickens were killed in the plastic bag. Bacteria and molds could develop themselves between the wetted feathers, with the yolk nearby as the perfect ‘soil for development’. 1998: Introduction of the Euthanasia device The industry realized that the practice of killing day-old chicks in plastic bags was no longer acceptable. The first chicken euthanasia machine was created on the basis of the prototype of 1984. This device was first introduced at the largest hatchery in Holland. It was for the first time that the chicks were first stunned and killed in a constant atmosphere of 80% Co2. The chickens did not show any signs of stress or pain while they were stunned, and the machine was 100% effective after keeping the animals for 4 minutes within the Co2 atmosphere. 2001: The silver VIV Innovation Award for the Euthanasia device At the end of 2000, the Euthanasia device was launched, during the World Poultry exhibition VIV in Utrecht and was rewarded with the silver innovation award. This Harm Kiezebrink h.kiezebrink@N2GF.com Page 3 10/28/2013
    • marked the moment that both the poultry industry as well as the zoo- and pet food industry realized the potential of this equipment. Animal welfare paid off The 100% improvement of the quality lifted the status from low end- cheap zoo food to top of the market high- end diet food for birds of pray, storks, otters and numerous other endangered animal species. Animal food nutritionists around the world, working at breeding centers,bird sanctuaries and zoos started to feed animals with a diet based on the new category chickens. It finally paid of that the animals were killed without any stress. The response of the animals was remarkable: the animals became very healthy, in some cases resulting in a nearly 100% increase in breeding production, 80% less early mortality under birds. The message spread quickly around the globe, leading to a bigger demand than the market could supply. Needles to say that hatcheries were willing to change their hatchery procedure, including the new euthanasia device: male day-old chickens became a valuable asset the hatchery could no be without. Euthanasia cabinet versus plastic bags To demonstrate how big the differences in quality actually were, two samples were tested by a team of the University of Hanover: Sample 2 was based on chickens that were euthanized by a euthanasia cabinet Sample 2 was based on chickens that were killed in the traditional way, in plastic bags The samples were tested on: A Total count plate B Aerobe bacteria C Pathogen Aerobe bacteria D Mold (Aspergillum’s) E Enterobacteriaceae (Kve/g) (Kve/g Streptococci’s) (Kve/g Staphylococci’s) (Kve/g) (Kve/g) Test results The results were astonishing. It was hard to believe that chickens killed in plastic bags were ever used as animal food. The outcome confirmed what the sudden market preference had previously shown before. This was the outcome: Sample 1, euthanasia cabinet A Total count plate 46,400 Kve/g B Aerobe bacteria (Streptococci’s) < 105 Kve/g C Pathogen Aerobe bacteria (Staphylococci’s) 0 Kve/g D Mold (Aspergillum’s) 0 Kve/g E Enterobacteriaceae (indication) <500 Kve/g Sample 2, plastic bags A Total count plate 1,650,000 Kve/g B Aerobe bacteria) Streptococci’s) 7 x 107 Kve/g C Pathogen Aerobe bacteria (Staphylococci’s) 4 x 10 8 Kve/g D Mold (Aspergillum’s) <103Kve/g E Enterobacteriaceae 56,900 Kve/g Harm Kiezebrink h.kiezebrink@N2GF.com Page 4 10/28/2013
    • High protein – low fat The reason why day-old chicks are invaluable in the diet of so many animals is because of its unique composition of proteins, fibers, and other substances that are vital for so many animals. A day-old chick consists of: Proteins Fat Minerals 67.5% 25.5% 7.0 % This makes the day-old chick a unique nutritious animal food product: Replacing dayold chicks in the diet of many animals will be extremely difficult, and in many cases impossible. For instance, it replaces frogs in the diet of storks, and there are simply not enough frogs to replace the consumption of 25 to 30 day-old chicks in the diet of a crane in that is used in a breeding center in the North of Germany to reintroduce these birds into Europe. Healthy food for healthy animals From the moment of the introduction of the euthanasia device into the European hatcheries, the market for healthy food for raptors, birds of pray, storks, otters and reptiles skyrocketed. Regardless the price difference, the entire zoo- and raptorfood market wanted only products that was produced by using the euthanasia device: for the first time, it paid off to invest in an animal welfare friendly technique to euthanize animals. Animal waste versus Animal byproduct After the introduction of EU Legislation 1069/2009, the sales of chickens directly from the hatchery where numbered. The male day-old chicks are categorized as hatchery by-product, categorized as Cat 3 material. This means that it can be used as zoo- and pet food. Traceability is a vital part of this EU legislation, meaning the production and only licensees are allowed to trade in this material. Full registration from production location till the final customer - is registered to guarantee that irregular trade is banned. Healthy future for healthy food After the success of introducing animal welfare friendly techniques to kill day-old chicks, it became clear that it definitely paid off to treat animals with respect, even when they are used as ingredient for zoo- and pet food. The current consumer price for day-old chicks varies between € 1,00 and € 1,70 per kg, depending on the quantity. Today, new techniques are developed to use the same principle to kill other animals that are on the diet of raptors and meat eaters. Harm Kiezebrink h.kiezebrink@N2GF.com Page 5 10/28/2013