News and analysis for the global poultry industry.

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.

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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Harrisvaccines avian flu

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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Slower-growing blog

Consumer demand is best illustrated by providing choices

Taking a closer look at Compassion in World Farming objections to the National Chicken Council report on the environmental impact of slower growing broilers

Taking a closer look at Compassion in World Farming objections to the National Chicken Council report on the environmental impact of slower growing broilers.The opinion piece authored by Katya Simkhovich, food business coordinator, Compassion in World Farming, raised three primary objections to the National Chicken Council’s study of the environmental impact of slower growing broilers.

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Slow-growing broiler

Faster growing broilers can still have good welfare

So-called slow growing broiler strains will find a market niche in developed countries, but they aren’t the answer for long-term sustainability of chicken production
Some animal rights activist groups are pushing for broiler producers and chicken buyers to switch to slower growing breeds because they claim that the welfare of these birds is better than it is for modern broiler strains.
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Massachusetts voters pass a confusing hen welfare law

Just as California’s Proposition 2 didn’t actually outlaw the use of cages for housing laying hens, Massachusetts’ Question 3 doesn’t either.
All of the votes from the November 8, 2016, election haven’t been tallied yet, but Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly approved Question 3, which phases out “extreme methods of farm animal confinement.”
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