Weekly Overview: UK Poultry Industry Looks to the Future

UK - Whilst the country's egg and chicken meat industries face challenges ahead, visitors to the British Pig & Poultry Fair at the National Agricultural Centre this week seemed to be optimistic about the future of their businesses, reports Jackie Linden.
calendar icon 15 May 2014
clock icon 3 minute read

Industry optimism about the future was a theme of the British Pig & Poultry Fair this week.

At the ‘Growing your Business’ for the egg sector, for example, Mark Williams from the British Egg Industry Council [pictured above, left] explained that there is plenty to be positive about in the egg sector.

"We should be extremely proud of the fact we are 87 per cent self-sufficient in eggs, with 9.68 billion eggs being produced a year in the UK," he said.

He also touched on the challenge facing producers in the form of beak-trimming, saying: "This is the most important policy issue at this time facing the UK egg industry. There is on-going work underway to educate MPs about the implications, and the need to delay any potential policy until birds can be reared without beak trimming, with no impact on welfare. This needs to be based on proven science and genetics."

Representing the chicken meat industry, Steve Ellis of 2 Sisters Food Group [pictured above, right] also forecast a promising outlook for the sector in terms of the low cost of production per kilo of protein, growing global demand for meat and popularity of chicken with consumers.

Mr Ellis said that the greatest challenges to the industry right now are keeping chicken affordable, tackling Campylobacter and improving bird welfare based on science.

Another forum media consultant, Malcolm Munro said that speaking to the media offers the opportunity to unlocking the power of story-telling.

Also on the theme of broiler welfare, a former arable farmer in the UK has taken lessons learned from vegetable production and applied it to a broiler enterprise to monitor how contented his birds are.

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