WATT PoultryUSA - January 2018 - 36
36 ❙ WATTPoultryUSA
Comparing the welfare of
different broiler breeds
Global Animal Partnership-funded research at the University of
Guelph will attempt to validate welfare measurements for broilers and
then compare modern strains with slower-growing breeds.
A significant group of U.S. and Canadian restaurant
chains, food service distributors and food processors
recently pledged to purchase chicken meat from broilers raised according to Global Animal Partnership
(GAP) standards by some future date. One part of many
of these GAP welfare pledges is that the breed of broilers selected to be grown to produce the meat purchased
will have demonstrably better welfare than others.
Most welfare standards for poultry do not make
breed specifications, rather they are either resource- or
outcome-based and the choice of breed is left up to the
producer. If producers are to make breed selections
based on bird welfare, then research is needed to compare breeds based on objective welfare measurements.
The Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal
Welfare received funding from GAP and Food From
Thought to conduct research to evaluate the welfare
and sustainability of modern and slow-growing breeds
of broilers. Dr. Stephanie Torrey, senior research
scientist, and Dr. Tina M. Widowski, director of the
Campbell Centre, are heading up the "Optimizing
Broiler Project." The initial phase of the project commenced in September 2017.
The objectives of the project are to:
■ Validate behavioral and physiological indicators
of welfare for three fast-growing genotypes under
standard production practices.
■ Benchmark data on the welfare of slow-growing
genotypes and compare to fast-growing genotypes.
Genotypes will be assessed on behavior, physiology,
health, production as well as carcass and meat quality.
■ Determine nutrient utilization and benchmark
indices of gut health and function in slow- and fastgrowing genotypes.
The project's long-term objectives are to:
■ Develop a database from which a life cycle assess-
ment can be performed.
Enrichments like ramps are being used in some
commercial growing programs to encourage bird
movement. | Terrence O'Keefe
Learn more: Broiler welfare:
3 slow-growth claims examined,
www.WATTAgNet.com ❙ January 2018