05/04/07 Current Topics in Poultry Welfare G. F. Barbato Department of Poultry Science InterCollege Graduate Program in Genetics The Pennsylvania State University
What is “Animal Welfare”?
No … Really, What is ‘Animal Welfare’?
Welfare: the state of being well; well-being [Oxford English Dictionary]
Who has dominion over whom?
But, banned vivisection on animals!
Euthanasia of handicapped and mentally ill
Nuremberg code: Directives for human experimentation
“Voluntary consent is absolutely essential.”
“Experiments should be designed and based on the results of animal experimentation... “
Report of the Brambell Committee, 1965
Welfare is a wide term that embraces both the physical and mental well-being. Any attempt to evaluate welfare must take into account the scientific evidence available concerning the feelings of animals that can be derived from their structure and functions and also from their behavior. The evaluation of the feelings of an animal ... must be derived from observation of the cries, expression, reactions, behavior, health and productivity of the animal.
Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Livestock; United Kingdom Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, 1971
The basic requirements for the welfare of livestock are: the provision of readily accessible fresh water and nutritionally adequate food as required; adequate freedom of movement and ability to stretch limbs; sufficient light for satisfactory inspection; the rapid diagnosis and treatment of injury and disease; emergency provision in the event of a breakdown of essential mechanical equipment; flooring which neither harms nor causes undue strain; and the avoidance of unnecessary mutilation.
Fifth European Poultry Conference, Malta, 1976
On a general level, it is a state of mental and physical health, where the animal is in harmony with its environment. On an empirical level, it may be measured by studying an animal in an environment which is assumed to be ideal, and then comparing it with an animal in the environment under investigation. Possible criteria for assessing welfare include: biochemical, physiological, pathological, productivity, and behavioral criteria. [B.O. Hughes]
Report of the Committee of Experts on Animal Husbandry and Welfare, Dutch Research, 1977
Animal welfare is defined as 'existence in reasonable harmony with the environment, both from an ethological and a physiological viewpoint'.
Who cares about Europe? What about U.S.?
Post World War II, there was a huge economic boom and a similar increase in scientific research. Including the establishment of the National Institutes of Health.
In 1950, the Animal Care Panel met and established early guidelines for laboratory animals and facilities.
Formally adopted in 1962, along with the first NIH research contract
Followed by the Animal Welfare Acts
1970, 1976, 1985, 1990 and...??
Did you notice... no mention of farm animals !!!
P. B. Siegel, Va. Tech
... the challenge is to develop the husbandry situation whereby there is the optimum amount of stress to stimulate the behavioral response that has the greatest biological advantage to the bird. [Extension Poultry Specialists' Workshop, Huntsville, AL, 1979]
The challenge will be to develop husbandry settings in which there are the optimum stimuli to elicit behavioral responses with the greatest biological advantage to individuals of a particular stock. [Gordon Memorial Lecture, Br. Poultry Sci. 30:3-13, 1989]
The Real Deal
The challenge for the future will be to develop husbandry settings which will elicit the optimum production, behavioral and physiological responses with the greatest advantage for the individual animals, the farmer and the consumer. [G.F. Barbato, 1997 - 5 th European Symposium on Poultry Welfare]
Where does ‘welfare’ exist?
The economic reality of poultry production
Cheap (cheep?!) protein
The biological reality of poultry production
Health and fitness
The cultural/social situation
The collision among the three!!!
Plum Blueberry Cranberry Pecan Sunflower Maize (corn) Tomato Cotton Sweet potato Common bean Potato Peanut Lima Bean Yam Pineapple Oats Sugar beet Rye Cabbage Wheat Barley Onion Pea Lentil Chick-pea Fig Date Pear Apple (?) Buckwheat Alfalfa Hemp Soybean Cabbage Onion Peach Oriental rice Banana Citrus Sugarcane Tea Coconut Breadfruit Macadamia nut Eggplant Cucumber Sesame (?) African rice Sorghum Yam Watermelon Coffee SOURCES: J. R. Harlan, "The plants and animals that nourish Man', Sci. Amer. 235(3):88-97, Sept., 1986 E. S. E. Hafez, The Behaviour of Domestic Animals, The Williams & Wilkins Company, Baltimore, 1969.
Livestock Populations of the World (average 1990 - 92) (FAOSTAT, 1994,1998,2003) 2000-2002 Population (x 10 9 ) 1.35 1.8 0.91 0.12 0.18 18.2 5.9
Livestock Populations of the World
What is the social context? Negative beliefs about eating meat amongst vegetarians (listed according to order of importance) Eating Beef • Involves animal cruelty • Means eating hormones • Increases cholesterol levels • Risk of food poisoning • Means eating additives Eating Chicken • Involves animal cruelty • Means eating hormones • Risk of food poisoning • Means eating antibiotics • Means eating additives
What is the Economic Context
Imagine a policy proposal for legislation to eliminate caged layers in the US.
Data suggests that demand for eggs is 'inelastic'
Eggs have no dietary subsititute
Fairly small percentage of food budget
PED (price elasticity of demand) = -.08
i.e, if egg prices increase by 10%, people will purchase 8% fewer eggs.
Beef on the other hand has a PED = -1.20!
Don't panic, these PED's are from the UK! in the US eggs are about the same, and beef is -0.25
Economic Reality – Meat 1945 1955 1965 1975 1985 1990 2000 0 20 40 60 80 100 0 20 40 60 80 100 AGE TO 3.5 LB. PER CAPITA (lbs) Y E A R P E R C A P I T A C O N S U M P T I O N ( l b s ) (PROJECTION) A G E ( d a y s )
Production Reality – Meat
4 lbs at 7 weeks
2.00 feed conversion
6.5 lbs at 7 weeks
1.95 feed conversion
4 lbs at ~5 weeks
1.85 feed conversion
U.S. Annual Egg Production / Consumption
The Problem with Meat Birds - Part 1
FAST early growth is essential for commercial product
Production and Processing dominate the market
Features of the hatched chick must minimize costs to market age
The Problem with Meat Birds - Part 2
Breeders supply the producers
Producers must be ‘happy’ with the chick
Fitness and welfare have been secondary, unless it impacts the former.
The Problem with Egg-Layers
Eggs, eggs and more eggs
early sexual maturity
daily egg production
duration of egg production
Low maintenance costs
Mate, but don’t eat, and be quiet.
Average Fertility of a Commercial Broiler Breeder Population n = 2500, during 120 day lay cycle with weekly artificial inseminations
Changes in Male Reproduction (as a function of chick production)
Males Females Placements
1965 1 15 1
1975 1 12 1
1980 1 10 1
1984 1 12 1
1987 1 10 1
1990 1 10 2
1995 1 10 3
What happened to reproduction?
In 1982 ….
A 7 week old broiler breeder was held to 2.25# from an ad lib weight of 4.0#
In 1992 ….
A 7 week old broiler breeder was still targeted at 2.25#, but its ad lib weight was 5.1# and feed restriction was begun at 7 days of age
In 1997 ….
A 7 week old broiler breeder is being targeted at 1.8-2.0#, having an ad lib weight of 5.5#.