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News and analysis on the global poultry
and animal feed industries.

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.

US cage-free transition means more price volatility

Analyst says increased cost of cage-free production will reduce US egg exports and lead to greater price volatility for producers.

If the cage-free transition takes place in the U.S. but not in the rest of the world, then the U.S. egg market would become more isolated and supply fluctuations would have a greater impact on egg price because of lost export markets.


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Innovators: The poultry industry needs your ideas

Innovation has been the cornerstone of the success and growth of the poultry industry. The Poultry Tech Summit will bring innovators and investors together to accelerate technology transfer to the industry.
The Poultry Tech Summit is being launched this year to make sure that more of innovative ideas get an opportunity to be seen by the people who can use them and make sure they get to market.
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No antibiotics ever not good for poultry welfare standards

Global Animal Partnership standards require no antibiotics ever, which creates a potential conflict between the program and bird welfare.
The Global Animal Partnership standard that requires no antibiotics ever rearing for poultry creates a potential conflict between bird welfare and treated birds and removing their meat or eggs from the program.
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Tax and control: The real climate change agenda

Calls for taxes on meat products show how climate change will be used to try and control what we eat and how we live.
The Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return (FAIRR) initiative released a report that suggests that meat will fall prey to the same kind of sin taxes that are now used to curb consumption of tobacco and sugar in many countries.
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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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