SCOTLAND, UK - The NFU's Chief Poultry Adviser, Gary Ford, is currently attending the the International Egg Commission (IEC) Conference in Edinburgh where there have been a number of updates about current developments in Europe and the rest of the world in terms of the egg industry.
A number of Member States are embracing the welfare Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and working with them to develop the image of the egg industry. The Danes stopped 'fighting animal rights activists' and now talk to them to add value to their egg products. For example the organic sector has expanded significantly recently with 20 per cent of eggs now being sold as organic.
In Austria retailers have joined in the issue surrounding the disposal of day old male chicks. One retailer has started marketing cockerels grown to 14-16 weeks of age under 'another life' marketing initiative or 'village cockerel'. The principle being that previous generations living in rural communities would have reared the cockerels for meat and not have disposed of them as day old chicks. Consequently this initiative is being marketed as a return to the 'old village style'.
Demand is reported as reasonably good with customers being prepared to pay extra for this bird as they are made aware that the costs of production are higher. It is however, estimated that currently only a small percentage of male day old chicks in Austria are grown on for this market.
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