Hy-Line Issues Further Statement over Welfare Issue

US - On 8 September, Hy-Line issued a further statement regarding a recent welfare issue at one of its hatcheries.
calendar icon 11 September 2009
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At Hy-Line International and Hy-Line North America, we place the highest priority on the well-being and safety of our birds and the care and safety of our employees. Well-defined animal welfare policies and procedures that are designed to meet or exceed local and international standards are in place at all of our facilities.

The company continues to investigate animal welfare allegations at our Spencer, Iowa hatchery depicted in a video distributed last week by an animal rights organization. It takes very seriously any reports of variations from its established policy. That is why it took immediate steps to bring in independent, third-party experts to conduct comprehensive audits to verify that appropriate animal welfare practices are in place and followed as supported by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), Federation of Animal Science Societies, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the European Union (EU).

Among others, the audits were conducted by a noted university professor with extensive research on animal welfare practices associated with poultry.

This auditor stated: "In conclusion I am impressed with the commitment to animal care by Hy-Line and its employees here in Iowa. The equipment, practices and handling of chicks at the Hy-Line hatchery in Spencer, Iowa are consistent with customary industry husbandry practices and exceed animal welfare standards in a number of areas."

However, these independent audits confirm that some of the practices at the company's facility in Spencer, Iowa, depicted in the undercover video did not reflect the standard operating procedures of our company and are in direct violation of the company's animal welfare policy. One scene in the video depicted a bypass of the instantaneous euthanasia process and was a direct and clear violation of both the authorised animal handling procedures and our welfare policies.

The independent audits also identified specific recommendations for Hy-Line to modify our equipment so that it cannot be altered or changed. Those corrective actions to equipment and procedures were implemented immediately.

In addition Hy-Line will continue to reinforce its animal welfare policy with all employees to impress upon them zero tolerance for behaviour that does not conform to established animal well-being procedures. Ongoing training and investment will be mandatory to ensure that all employees continue to consistently operate our processes to the highest standards.

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