EFSA Announces Meeting on Broiler, Breeder Welfare

EU - The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has announced a technical meeting on animal welfare aspect of genetic selection in broilers and broiler breeders to take place in Brussels on 23 September 2009.
calendar icon 20 August 2009
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Council Directive 2007/43/EC laying down minimum rules for the protection of chickens kept for meat production calls for the European Commission to submit to the European Parliament and Council a report concerning the influence of genetic selection on identified deficiencies resulting in poor welfare of chickens. The report of the Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare of 21 March 2000 on the Welfare of Chickens Kept for Meat Production (Broilers) concluded that a wide range of metabolic and behavioural traits in broilers have been changed by selection practices. The report concluded that many welfare problems in broilers seem to emanate from the way the animals and the parent stocks are bred.

The European Commission has requested EFSA to issue two Scientific Opinions: the first one on the influence of genetic selection on the welfare and resistance to stress of commercial broilers and the second one on the welfare of broiler parent and grandparent stocks raised and kept for breeding purposes. The European Commission has also requested EFSA to assess all available data from scientific studies and proprietary information sources.

In order to support the work of the Animal Health and Welfare (AHAW) Panel, EFSA has established scientific ad hoc Working Groups (WG) of experts to draft scientific reports on the current knowledge on welfare aspects of genetic selection in broilers and broiler breeders. These reports will constitute the basis for the two Scientific Opinions to be adopted by the AHAW panel before 30 June 2010.

The scientific opinions of EFSA will be based on all available data from published scientific studies and proprietary information sources. In order to facilitate the data collection, the Call for Data has been published on EFSA web site with deadline for data submission on 15 October 2009.

Further to welfare aspects, the Commission will also request an assessment of the influence of genetic selection on the resistance to disease agents in commercial broilers. Therefore, the call for data encompasses animal health aspects of genetic selection in broilers. The infectious diseases include viral, bacterial, parasitic and mycotic infectious agents relevant to control of major epidemic animal diseases subject to EU legislation, food-borne zoonoses, monitoring and/or control of other zoonotic diseases, and impact of infectious or parasitic diseases on the economy of broiler and broiler breeder farming systems.

In order to address these complex issues and to ensure that scientific outputs will be based on comprehensive information, EFSA will organise a public consultation with its stakeholders. This consultation will be organised in a two step process including the technical meeting and in later stage (March/April 2010) web-based consultation on drafts of scientific reports, according to the guidelines 'EFSA's approach on Public Consultations on Scientific outputs'.

EFSA, the AHAW Panel and Working Groups would appreciate sharing and exchanging views on scientific and technical aspects related to this matter with a special focus on data sources and availability.

Objective of the meeting

The meeting will comprise an information session to present the background and scope of the mandate, purpose of data collection (ongoing Call for data) and methodological approach developed by AHAW Panel and Working Groups.

An exchange of views between EFSA and stakeholders' is expected on the data availability and sources, relevance and reliability for data collection. Further collaboration with stakeholders and interested parties will be discussed during the meeting.

Participants are welcome to submit written statements to be communicated during the meeting. The statements should be submitted by 11 September 2009 to Tomasz Grudnik (contact details below).

Who should attend?

The technical meeting is part of the public consultation initiated by EFSA. It addresses all parties with a demonstrated interest in the assessment of health and welfare aspects of genetic selection in broilers and broiler breeders. The meeting is highly relevant for technical and scientific representatives of the meat producing poultry industry, breeding companies, universities, research groups and institutions. EFSA also strongly encourages the participation from EU funded research projects and consortia.

Please note that EFSA reserves the right to select attendees based on its criteria for public consultation as set out in the EFSA document EFSA’s approach to public consultations. Each institution can apply for not more than two participants.

Experts interested in participating are invited to register by 4 September 2009.

An online registration form is provided by clicking here .

A more detailed information package will sent after the registration closing date.

Participation to the meeting is free of charge. EFSA does not provide financial support to the participants. Participants are asked to make their own travel arrangements.

Date and venue

The meeting will be held in Brussels on 23 September 2009 at Breydel Building, 45 avenue Auderghem, Brussels.

English will be the official language. No simultaneous translations will be provided.

For further information, contact Tomasz Grudnik ([email protected])

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