WATT PoultryUSA - April 2018 - 18
18 ❙ WATTPoultryUSA
Impacts of slower broiler
growth, natural lighting
A panel of animal welfare experts hosted by WATT Global Media
considered a pair of key planks in the Global Animal Partnership
welfare standards, slowing down broiler growth rates and including
more natural light, and their real-world impacts on the farm.
Animal welfare is becoming a critical issue for both poultry farmers and poultry producers. The elevated interest
in welfare is pushing integrators and food retailers alike to
join third-party welfare programs like the Global Animal
The 10-year-old welfare program, administered
by the eponymous non-profit organization based in
Austin, Texas, is steadily gaining adherents in the
broiler and turkey industries. Its partners in the broiler
industry include: Allen Harim Foods, Farmers Pride
Inc., Hain Pure Protein Corp.'s Freebird brand, Hormel
Food Corp.'s Applegate Farms brand, Miller Poultry,
Perdue Foods and Wayne Farms LLC.
Key planks of the GAP program - changing the
environment inside the broiler house and potentially
slowing growth rates - were discussed in depth as
part of WATT Global Media's panel discussion on
measuring and improving broiler welfare. Appearing
on the panel were: Jim Shepard, senior director live
operations for Wayne Farms; Dr. Stephanie Torrey,
senior research scientist for animal biosciences at the
University of Guelph; Dr. Joy Mench, professor emeritus for animal science department at the University
of California at Davis and Dr. Suzanne Dougherty,
executive vice president of the American Association
of Avian Pathologists and a consulting veterinarian
with Pecking Around Consulting. The panel took place
on February 1, 2018, as part of the 2018 International
Production & Processing Expo in Atlanta.
Third-party welfare groups and some consumers are
questioning modern broiler breeding advances.
Slowing down broiler growth rates
An emerging welfare issue, and one included in the
GAP standards, is reducing broiler growth rates - or
breeds scientifically proven to have markedly improved
welfare outcomes. During the question and answer session, Leah Garces, U.S. executive director of Compassion
in World Farming, asked Shepard a question about GAP
implementation with a focus on slowing broiler growth
rates. Garces is chair of GAP's board of directors.
In September 2017, Wayne Farms launched its first
product affiliated with the GAP welfare rating system.
Its Naked Truth line of products are Step 2 rated - the
second of six steps aimed toward eventually establishing an animal-centered production system where aniwww.WATTAgNet.com ❙ April 2018