Animal welfare aspects of genetic selection in broilers

by Editor
Thursday, October 08, 2009

European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) scientists held a meeting with stakeholders to exchange views on the welfare implications linked to the genetic selection in broilers, and welfare aspects related to the management and housing of broiler breeders.

The meeting provided an opportunity to inform stakeholders about the background and scope of the request received by EFSA from the European Commission (EC), to discuss the challenges of data collection and to foster further cooperation with all interested parties. Representatives of the poultry industry, breeding companies, research groups, NGOs, national and international institutions attended the meeting.

The participants exchanged views on scientific and technical aspects related to welfare of broilers, with special focus on data availability, data sources, and clarification of the scope of the request from the EC. It was concluded that genetic background, management and environment contribute to the welfare of the birds and hence need to be considered in the assessment.

Participants also agreed that poultry breeding for meat is a dynamic sector and stressed the importance of having access to the most recent data. It was concluded that the lack of a harmonised system for data collation may hamper scientific risk assessment. Methodologies for data analysis were presented to tackle these difficulties and to identify data gaps.

EFSA – European Food Safety Authority