Thai livestock industry marks 2018 as one of the best years for animal welfare

Thailand celebrated World Animal Day 2018 with huge progress in animal rights, especially in the area of livestock welfare, where several game-changing policies have been made by the government and major food companies
calendar icon 5 October 2018
clock icon 3 minute read

As one of the world's biggest food product exporters globally, it has been easy for Thailand to ignore animal welfare, until now. The country produces 18 million pigs and 1.5 billion broilers annually, putting it in the top ten of the world broiler producers. Moreover, statistics show that Thailand produces 2.5 tonnes of chicken out of the 90 million tonnes produced annually, worldwide. This accounts for 3 percent of the global market share and approximately 810,000 tonnes of the outputs are used for export.

In 2018, Thailand made several significant progresses to improve its animal welfare standard: the Thai government recently announced the revision of the Good Agricultural Practices for Broiler farms (TAS 6901-2009) which is now in progress. The up-to-date version will provide recommendations on best practices for broiler welfare. The National Bureau of Agricultural Commodity and Food Standards said that the revision will help Thailand to reach the same welfare standards as animal welfare leaders, such as the EU.

In addition, the country has received praise from high-profile animal specialists across the world during their visit to Charoen Pokphand Foods' (CPF) plant in Rayong for the Prince Mahidol Award Conference (PMAC) earlier this year. The group praised Thailand’s prudent antimicrobial use and farming practice to battle antimicrobial resistance. The developed practices focus on enhancing animal welfare and the use of probiotics to create content and strong animals. This shift in management of welfare and antimicrobials is also in response to the Thai National Strategic Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (2017–2021), established last year.

The strategic plan aims to reduce the resistance by half and drop antimicrobial use in humans and animals by 20% and 30% respectively.

CPF, one of Thailand's major food companies, has also announced a global policy on animal welfare which is based on the five-freedoms of animal welfare, among other animal health principles, to ensure of the happiness of its farmed animals.

“The company's animal welfare practices are based on the Five Freedoms of animal welfare, which consist of freedom from hunger and thirst, freedom from discomfort, freedom from pain, injury or disease, freedom to express normal behaviour and freedom from fear and distress,” Dr Payungsak Somyanontanakul, DVM, vice president at CPF explained.

Under this policy, all CPF’s pig farms in Thailand and overseas operations will replace individual stalls with group pens by 2025 and 2028 respectively, to provide a more humane environment for sows. For poultry business, all farms will be supervised by certified Poultry Welfare Officers before the close of 2020.

These policies are now implemented by all CPF businesses worldwide to ensure that all farmed animals live in healthy and comfortable life.

As reported by Charoen Pokphand Foods

Ryan Johnson

Editor at The Poultry Site

Ryan worked in conservation from 2008 to 2017, during which time he operated a rainbow trout hatchery and helped to maintain public and protected green spaces in Canada for the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. As editor of The Poultry Site, he now writes about challenges and opportunities in agriculture across the globe.

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