Farming: a job we know little about

The world of poultry farmers, scientists, researchers and geneticists commit their time to a form of work that is little or not at all known.

Yet those who go to the supermarket to buy poultry products should be credited with enabling millions of people to have access to safe, controlled, healthy, affordable meat and eggs.

Their commitment to making safe, affordable, quality food available manifests itself in a constant improvement that is perpetuated through the ritual of food from which we cannot exempt ourselves.

If their commitment is so little known it is because they do not talk about it, focused as they are on doing their best to select which animals to breed respecting their welfare and then provide us with food that impacts the planet as little as possible.

But this silent work to feed the world has allowed others to speak of them as people engaged in terrible practices, spreading tales that, in the absence of a counterbalance, have taken on a plausible appearance that continues to be told to terrorise consumers with the intention of converting them into plant-only consumers.

This dogged pursuit by activists who ignore the scientific progress that has made it possible to naturally select more efficient and healthier animals suggests that it has become necessary for the entire poultry industry to make an additional commitment: that of communicating and explaining the positive contribution of genetic innovation to animal health, welfare and the environment.

Indeed, animal welfare standards on European farms are among the highest in the world and have been steadily improving for some time, thanks to improved nutrition, biosecurity, veterinary care and an ever-improving genetic selection that enables balanced breeding programmes. In other words, the poultry sector throughout Europe is working with increasingly co-ordinated methods to support the animal welfare with the collateral objective, good to repeat, of human food welfare.

In this regard, a reflection has to be made regarding the ethics of the poultry industry: innovation in scientific research has reached once unthinkable heights and we have now reached the point where we can say that it would be unethical to avoid adopting technologies with such great potential for improving animal health and welfare.



Modern genetics result in animals that are more resistant to diseases that were once devastating and intractable. These positive consequences are then distorted in their meaning by the narrative of those whose aim is to deny the benefits.

There is much little-known information about modern poultry farming that deserves to be disseminated and that M.A.C. constantly disseminates. Among these is the fact that the industry is now able to apply precision techniques that allow animal welfare problems to be identified and addressed much faster than they used to be.

BBC News recently reported news of revolutionary research by Israeli scientists to develop hens genetically selected to produce only female chicks. See also

this solution, once established, will join other recent ones ( ) thus avoiding the practice of culling unwanted male chicks. This is just one example among many other solutions about which little is said that, if made available to the consumer public, would become major breakthroughs on the issue of animal welfare and hopefully help bring the industry closer to the demands of the activist world.

What is needed is constant communication and transparency from the industry to the consuming public, so that the application and acceptance of current and future technologies in food production can become the information heritage of a public that is more aware because it is more correctly informed.

The editorial staff of M.A.C.