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Information on global poultry, pig and animal feed markets.

Food Safety and Processing Perspective

Terrence O’Keefe, WATT’s content director, provides his perspective on everything from animal agriculture trends that impact our food chain to food-safety related issues affecting chicken and egg production. O’Keefe has covered the poultry industry as an editor for more than a decade and also brings his experience in plant management and poultry production to comment on today’s issues.

Vital Farms video disparages cage-free egg production

A somewhat humorous video illustrates the messy side of letting the marketplace sort out how laying hens are housed.
An online video released by pasture-raised egg producer Vital Farms purports to tell the difference between pasture-raised and cage-free eggs. A commonly used vulgarity to describe bovine feces is “bleeped out” when it is used over and over to describe eggs produced in cage-free barns, or the pasture-raised eggs which are said to be bovine-feces free.
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Poultry welfare: Finding the hill we can defend

It will take more than science to identify the poultry husbandry guidelines that will yield good bird welfare and resonate with consumers.
Using science to explain as much as we can about all aspects of poultry welfare and developing measurements -- behavioral, physical and physiological -- is important. After these indicators are established, the measurements need to be viewed not just through the eyes of scientists and poultry husbandry specialists, but also of the average consumer.
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Transparency is the key to keeping hens in the house

If you aren’t completely transparent about how your hens and pullets are raised, millennial consumers will assume you are hiding something.
Millennial consumers' opinions can be changed by effective marketing campaigns, according to Richard Kottmeyer, senior managing partner, Farm to Fork Advisory Services.
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US shift to cage-free eggs causing market disruption

It will continue to be a bumpy transition for the cage-free egg market unless major egg purchasers set and stick to interim goals for cage-free egg purchases.
If retailers are going to take away consumer choice, they will need to set and keep interim goals for cage-free egg sales to avoid a major supply mess.
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Housing systems should be designed around the animal

If your primary concern is housing the most laying hens or sows in the least amount of space, you probably won’t get the desired results
Just as egg producers are housing more cage-free hens, many pork producers are switching from gestation stalls to group pens for housing pregnant sows. The driving force for both of these transitions is purchase pledges by major foodservice and retail customers.
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Vaccination not the ‘third rail’ for avian flu control

Experts on control and eradication of viral diseases of poultry say that vaccination to protect flocks from avian influenza should be better accepted in the future.
Reform of social security programs is often referred to as the “third rail” of American politics, in reference to the electrified high-voltage third rail used to power subway trains. Because of the reaction of trading partners, vaccination has become the “third rail” when it comes to avian influenza control, but it shouldn’t be.
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The impact of ‘pet parents’ on poultry welfare

Consumers’ closer bonds with pets may be a primary driver of changing attitudes toward how farm animals are cared for.
The U.S. layer industry is following in the footsteps of the European layer industry on the path away from conventional cages for housing hens. This conversion is coming about largely as a result of the lobbying of major retail and foodservice egg purchasers by animal welfare/rights groups. As someone who studied the behavior of laying hens in graduate school, but who also has a business degree and experience in large-scale meat bird production, I have been somewhat puzzled by these developments.
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How can you get a millennial to change their mind?

Millennial consumers are said to care about different things than their parents did, but one expert says he can demonstrate how to change their opinions.
You have likely heard a statement like, “Millennials care where their food comes from.” I have always been skeptical of broad statements like this.
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