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Thailand's CP foods embraces new cage-free farming initiative

Charoen Pokphand Foods (CPF) voices its support for Thailand's Department of Livestock Development’s planned new standard on cage-free farming practices.

27 August 2020, at 8:04am

As part of the new cage-free farming standard, CPF is using Wang Somboon farm as a pilot project and being prepared to share knowledge in humane husbandry for laying hens with farmers.

Mr Somkid Wannalukkhee, CPF’s Senior Vice President for egg business, said that farming has been an integral part of CPF. Animal welfare has been its emphasis when delivering consumers safe food and the company hopes to meet global demand for animal welfare products.

With this is mind, Wang Somboon farm in Saraburi province, the central part of Thailand, was turned into a pilot cage-free farm in 2018, with a plan to develop corporate practices that will be replicated at other farms.

CPF has exchanged its views with Thailand’s Department of Livestock Development (DLD) which is drafting a new standard so that Thai farmers can satisfy consumer demand for cage-free eggs.

“Once cage-free standard is officially promulgated, Thailand’s egg products will enjoy greater trade and marketing opportunities particularly when it concerns premium restaurants and leading modern trade channels thanks to their policy and increasing demand for cage-free eggs as well as their concrete push for animal welfare products. This will enhance laying-hen raisers’ competitiveness,” Mr Somkid said.

CPF has applied the European cage-free standard for Wang Somboon farm. The closed chicken house has a low stocking density of 7 laying hens per square meter compared with general standard of maximum 9 hens per square meter.

Environment enrichments also allow chicken to express their natural behaviour freely. They can rest on perches. The flooring supports ferretting and self-cleaning. The house is equipped with an egg-laying spot as well as the automatic lighting, temperature and air ventilation control system. Chickens are adequately fed. Living in comfortable environment, laying hens are happy and enjoy good health, making antibiotics unnecessary throughout their life.

The cage-free farm also employs a computerised production system: eggs are automatically transferred from the laying spot to the stock room while the farm’s sanitary and biosafety system is controlled in accordance with the Biosecurity Hi-tech Farming guidelines. Disease carriers like rats, lizards and insects are kept out of the farm, while environmental contamination is prevented. As such, CPF’s cage-free eggs have won world-class recognition.

Aside, CPF’s F100 egg-laying hens are selected for the farm. A wholegrain feed meal was developed to promote health and natural growth. Cage-free eggs are thus fresher than the eggs from other farms. They do not give off foul odour, while the egg yolks are of fresh orange colour. The eggs thus contain high quality and nutritious values, for consumers' good health.

Wang Somboon farm is not only a pilot project for CPF’s cage-free farming, but also a learning centre where farmers can study and exchange experiences to improve cage-free farming practices and sustainably add value to Thailand’s agricultural products.