In poultry flocks, both broilers and laying hens, production systems and genetic selection criteria are often responsible of affecting animal welfare. Several mutilation procedures (i.e. cut of beak and castration), performed in order to limit cannibalism and aggression behaviours and to improve the quality of the meat, are often responsible for causing pain in animals. The induction of pain by the procedures, and its perpetuation during the following days/weeks, is well documented by several studies conducted by comparing behaviour after the procedure with behaviour before the procedure and with the behaviour of a sham-operated control group. Quite all these studies show how animals often present escape behaviours, abnormal vocalizations and horripilation during the procedure, and a modification of normal behaviours, such as a decrease in time spent feeding, drinking, preening and pecking at the cage and an increase in times spent standing inactive or sitting dozing. These findings let the Authors arguing that pain is the most probable cause of these behavioural changes, which in turn are expression of a decrease in welfare to the individual bird. Further sources of pain can be considered the injuries resulting from errors of farming management. In particular, excessive population density, unsuitable physical environment, incorrect handling are often cause of limbs injuries (pododermatitis, wounds, bruises, fractures). Similarly, albeit indirectly, pain can be caused by genetic selection practices: the rapid increase in body weight in broilers and the productive boost in laying hens, foster, among other things, the development of musculoskeletal abnormalities recognized as a source of algia, such as osteoarthrosis or fractures. Notwithstanding the common use of these practices, the related legal background is rather lacking, especially with respect to animal welfare. The only Italian normative references related to the topic are implementations of Council Directive 1998/58/EC (concerning the protection of animals kept for farming purposes), of Council Directive 1999/74/EC (laying down minimum standards for the protection of laying hens), and of Council Directive 2007/43/EC (laying down minimum rules for the protection of chickens kept for meat production). The provisions contained in these legislations are in fact somewhat generic: they do not propose any guidelines on how to perform the various procedures, the need of anaesthetics/ analgesics is not mentioned and it’s not clear what “qualified personnel” means, with reference to those who must perform the procedures. The legislator should be therefore suitably sensitized in order to implement further compulsory and binding provisions, aimed at protecting farmed birds welfare, without forgetting the economic and productive needs of factory farming.

Beak trimming and other pain’s sources in laying hens and broilers: welfare problems and medico-legal aspects

QUARTARONE, VALERIA;PASSANTINO, Annamaria
2012

Abstract

In poultry flocks, both broilers and laying hens, production systems and genetic selection criteria are often responsible of affecting animal welfare. Several mutilation procedures (i.e. cut of beak and castration), performed in order to limit cannibalism and aggression behaviours and to improve the quality of the meat, are often responsible for causing pain in animals. The induction of pain by the procedures, and its perpetuation during the following days/weeks, is well documented by several studies conducted by comparing behaviour after the procedure with behaviour before the procedure and with the behaviour of a sham-operated control group. Quite all these studies show how animals often present escape behaviours, abnormal vocalizations and horripilation during the procedure, and a modification of normal behaviours, such as a decrease in time spent feeding, drinking, preening and pecking at the cage and an increase in times spent standing inactive or sitting dozing. These findings let the Authors arguing that pain is the most probable cause of these behavioural changes, which in turn are expression of a decrease in welfare to the individual bird. Further sources of pain can be considered the injuries resulting from errors of farming management. In particular, excessive population density, unsuitable physical environment, incorrect handling are often cause of limbs injuries (pododermatitis, wounds, bruises, fractures). Similarly, albeit indirectly, pain can be caused by genetic selection practices: the rapid increase in body weight in broilers and the productive boost in laying hens, foster, among other things, the development of musculoskeletal abnormalities recognized as a source of algia, such as osteoarthrosis or fractures. Notwithstanding the common use of these practices, the related legal background is rather lacking, especially with respect to animal welfare. The only Italian normative references related to the topic are implementations of Council Directive 1998/58/EC (concerning the protection of animals kept for farming purposes), of Council Directive 1999/74/EC (laying down minimum standards for the protection of laying hens), and of Council Directive 2007/43/EC (laying down minimum rules for the protection of chickens kept for meat production). The provisions contained in these legislations are in fact somewhat generic: they do not propose any guidelines on how to perform the various procedures, the need of anaesthetics/ analgesics is not mentioned and it’s not clear what “qualified personnel” means, with reference to those who must perform the procedures. The legislator should be therefore suitably sensitized in order to implement further compulsory and binding provisions, aimed at protecting farmed birds welfare, without forgetting the economic and productive needs of factory farming.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11570/2334021
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