Code of Welfare for Meat Chickens Released

NEW ZEALAND - New standards covering the welfare of chickens raised for their meat came into effect today, 26 July.
calendar icon 26 July 2012
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The minimum standards and best practice guidelines are set out in the new code of welfare for meat chickens.

John Hellström, chair of the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) which developed the code, says it will replace the code of welfare for broiler chickens which was issued in 2003.

“The previous code concentrated solely on chickens that are fully housed. The new code has a broader scope and includes chickens that have access to the outdoors,” Mr Hellström says.

“Another key change is that farmers will have to take the environment of the chicken into account when deciding on how many chickens to keep in a given area.

“Farmers will still be required to stay within the minimum standards for stocking density, but they will now have to also consider things like litter quality, lighting, air quality and temperature when deciding how to house their chickens.”

NAWAC is an expert committee formed to give advice about animal welfare to the Minister for Primary Industries. NAWAC developed the code after listening to feedback from those directly affected by the code and the views of the public.

Codes of welfare expand on the requirements in the Animal Welfare Act 1999 with standards and best practices designed to provide for animals’ overall physical, health and behavioural needs.

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