The woman in white cloth stand in the chicken agricuture farm with small chickens feeding with yellow light background

Animal welfare? On protected farms it is a prerequisite for consumer and farmer welfare

Let us make a premise. Animal welfare information concerns animals raised to feed people (millions of people). Excluding those who by personal choice decide not to eat chicken and eggs, everyone else expects that chicken meat and eggs they find on the market are safe. Safe because they are healthy.

Animal welfare on farms is the main objective. If a farmer did not take care of the welfare of farmed animals he would be doing himself a disservice because he could not gain any economic advantage. If animals are not well, they cannot be sold to feed the food chain.

Serious breeders do everything they can to grow the healthiest chickens, free from fear, pain, stress and suffering. And it is a fact that when chickens are treated well, they also grow better.

These attentions, along with many others, are part of the concept of animal welfare that we hear so much about.

Animal welfare is based on welfare requirements that serve as a benchmark for the broiler industry raised by farmers trained in animal welfare and under the watchful eye of licensed veterinarians.


Farmers play one of the most important roles in food safety by protecting chickens from disease, predators and pests. On a farm, for example, every person entering is required to wear biosecurity suits and personal protective equipment to ensure that no bacteria or other foreign material enters the poultry house.

Attention is not only during breeding, but also preventive. Before a new group of chicks is introduced into the breeding flock, in fact, breeders carry out intensive cleaning and preventive work.


Then when you start a breeding cycle, the chickens that come in are chicks that are free to roam around, take food and drink water. Then as they grow, obviously the space available to them is reduced (just look at the size of a 2-day-old chick compared to that of a 50/80-day-old chicken), but we have to think that the chicken ‘loves’ being close to other chickens. The idea that the chicken wants free space around it is an all-too-human transposition, that it thinks of animals as itself.

It must therefore be remembered that ‘meat’ chickens are not reared in cages, but in very large and well-structured spaces to ensure precisely their welfare, and that what may seem like crowding on a farm (an observation that often comes as instrumental criticism from anti-farming activists) is in fact evidence of the chickens’ natural inclination to stay together.

Indoors chicken farm, chicken feeding


In protected farms, chickens eat quality food and clean water at all times


If you bothered to check whether the anti-farming activists are telling the truth or not, you would discover (we imagine to your amazement) that chickens are not treated with hormones, steroids, antibiotics or any of the other absurd things we have been hearing about for years. They are simply not used, because they are not needed, because they are banned and because even if we wanted to use them they would also be too expensive.

Is anyone still asking ‘why are chickens so big’ and bigger than they used to be?

They are for several reasons. One of these is optimal nutrition, a diet tailored to each stage of the chicken’s life. Broiler chickens are fed a diet based on maize meal and soya that is treated to kill any harmful bacteria that may be present.

Vitamins, minerals and other nutrients are adjusted in the feed according to the age and nutritional needs of the group of animals being reared. If people followed the same nutritional logic used for chickens we would have fewer diseases and fewer cases of obesity among humans as well.

Today’s chickens also receive first-class veterinary care and optimal living conditions. But there is an even more important reason why chickens have been able to grow well and faster: the chicken industry has listened to scientific research into the causes of the care that needs to be taken on farms as opposed to the occasional, scattered flock on small farms. Over the years, breeders have selected chickens with the healthiest genetic traits, such as leg strength, heart health and so on, to help future generations get off to the best possible start. Even without talking about science and research, we can only talk about ‘intelligence applied to evidence’. Today’s intensively protected farms are also intelligent farms and are the key to growing healthy and strong broiler chickens.


Poultry industry follows research innovation


Taking care of chickens has become a prerequisite. Every farmer has access to manuals and updates that constantly enable them to ensure the welfare of their flocks. These are guidelines on the welfare of broiler chickens and laying hens, which provide regularly updated scientific recommendations for proper care at every stage of the animal’s life so that it grows up healthy and strong.

Consumers today obviously want to be sure that all animals raised for food are treated with respect and are properly cared for during their lives.

People, families and companies involved in broiler farming are fully aware of this and share the public’s concern and feel an ethical obligation to ensure that the animals on their farms are well cared for. This commitment stems from the well-present awareness in the industry that healthy, high quality chickens are needed for food for people, for which proper care is not only an ethical obligation but also makes obvious business sense. Animal welfare also translates into health and commercial welfare for the world that feeds on chickens and eggs.


The editorial staff of M.A.C.