Animal Welfare

Animal welfare is ensured by the interests of breeders and the entire supply chain

Animal welfare is influenced by the possibility to experience interactions with fellow animals, to express their natural behaviour and not to be affected by negative emotional factors such as stress and fear. Anti-breeding associations say that these conditions are not respected on intensive/protected poultry farms, and they often disseminate impressive ‘information’ campaigns to create favourable conditions for petitioners and fundraisers aimed (they say) at getting farmers to change their behaviour.
What follows is a short list of the most frequent statements that unfortunately influence perceptions that do not correspond to reality, and which M.A.C. has thought to accompany with the relevant, dutiful answers that correspond to verifiable facts.
“…in those places animals often compete for access to food and water and have difficulty escaping from aggressive individuals…”:

In reality, modern poultry farming systems have progressively created optimal conditions for healthy and stress-free animal growth. Among these optimal conditions, the most obvious ones are that the animal does not have to struggle to find food and water, which are provided to it abundantly, safely, controlled and well distributed in the rearing area so that there is no competition for food.
The nature of protected breeding has eliminated the stress that comes from having to defend oneself from predators.
The structure of protected breeding is in fact a shelter in the broad sense that the animal does not have to seek.
Aggression resulting from the competitive spirit develops in the animal after about 100/105 days. Broilers are bred for 55 or 84 days, depending on the growth rate of the breed in question.
On laying hens, cage rearing is still said to be active, despite the fact that the movement restrictions associated with this model are in clear conflict with the welfare of these animals.

The issue of cages is specious because the replacement by other systems is an activity that started years ago and will be completed soon. The total replacement is being implemented gradually as the costs of adaptation are all borne by the farmers who are doing this. It should be remembered that where one still hears talk of cages one is always and only referring to laying hens.
The poultry sector is said to be heavily dependent on soya crops for feed, one of the main causes of deforestation.

Soya is only one of the ingredients in poultry feed (about 20%). To say that this implies a strong dependency is at least a bold statement.

It is said that protected farms provide the ideal environment for the spread of infectious diseases on a large scale and act as an ‘epidemiological bridge’ between wildlife and human infections.

Protected breeding farms prevent diseases in any way possible, especially those transmissible by wildlife, which is the primary cause of epidemics, along with accidental factors that result from contamination with germs and bacteria introduced through carelessness on the part of those working there. Precisely for this reason, the farms that are most protected from risks are those that do not involve going outdoors. If any animal that falls ill (including humans) is placed in the presence of others, it is obvious that the possibility of contagion increases. Comparing it to a human context, a child who falls ill is cured and brought into contact with others in the family or at school is avoided. While it is true that animals (including humans) that lead ‘rustic’ lives may have more natural antibodies than those that live in ‘protected’ environments, it is also true that this is precisely why intensive farming is protected.
Those who contest protected farms ask their listeners to favour products from farms that are more respectful of animals, people and the planet.

All professional farms respect animals, people and the planet. The data, farm management manuals, researchers, independent veterinarians, history… Of all the ‘poultry’ raised, only 3% do not reach the end of their cycle. 70 years ago this percentage was at least 10 times higher. In countries where compliance controls are adequate, it must be considered that the number of animals slaughtered in early 2022 to control the epidemic that occurred is small in comparison to annual poultry production. However impressive the numbers may be on a global scale, it is in fact a loss of less than 2% of the total. Epidemics in the past, on rural farms, often went so far as to kill all the animals reared. It must be emphasised that the number of animals bred in poultry farming around the world is closely linked to the demand for poultry meat and eggs and is therefore a natural response to the need for quality food that is also cheap and easily obtainable.
It is said that if there is a lack of sufficient space, animals are frustrated by their inability to express their natural behaviour.

Those who make such claims should be able to answer a question? What are the natural behaviours prevented by poultry farming? It should be borne in mind that these are animals intended for human consumption and yet the poultry sector is the sector where animals are better cared for and managed than any other animal bred for that purpose.

We invite readers to a lateral reflection that to us at M.A.C. arises spontaneously: how do domestic animals live forced into spaces that are unnatural for them, fed disproportionately, adorned according to fashion, shredded for aesthetic issues dictated by their owners or to prevent them from reproducing except when they are deemed to belong to a pedigree worthy of attention in order to reproduce?
At this link is an example of how in Australia the government itself intervenes in diatribes between activists and breeders:
Link to: Australia: a law to protect farmers from animal rights activists
The editorial staff of M.A.C.