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.
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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Brown hens

Grandin to poultry industry: 'Avoid BS welfare standards'

Dr. Temple Grandin said that when it comes to setting welfare guidelines on things like outdoor access, poultry producers should make sure they are set in a way that consumers will recognize and accept.
Dr. Temple Grandin, animal science professor, Colorado State University, says the most important thing regarding outdoor access provisions for poultry is to “have clear guidelines and no BS, a porch half the size of this table is pure BS.”
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Poultry welfare, science basis with consumer approval

Temple Grandin and the chief veterinarian for HSUS both say poultry production practices must pass muster with average consumers.
Like many professionals working either for poultry companies or for industry suppliers, part of my fascination with the poultry industry has been the never ending quest to use every branch of science and technology to make continuous progress in making safer and more affordable poultry products. Anecdotal evidence for improvement is never enough for this industry, everything is put to the test whether in the lab or in field trials; poultry folks require hard data.
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Broiler lawsuit ignores economic reasons for cutbacks

Successful litigation against U.S. egg producers has emboldened law firms to ignore basic economics and to look for collusion to explain higher chicken prices.

A class action antitrust lawsuit charges that U.S. broiler companies conspired to reduce chicken production to cause chicken prices to rise to “unprecedented” levels during the period from 2008-2014. In a press release, a 50 percent increase in chicken prices is what is described as “unprecedented.”

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Avian flu not behind the cage-free egg purchase pledges

Article about Kroger’s decision to launch a co-packed Kroger brand of cage-free eggs misstates who is really behind the cage-free egg purchase pledges.
Kroger is the second largest seller of groceries in the U.S., trailing only Walmart, and when they announced that they were launching Kroger brand cage-free eggs it makes news. At least one popular press article about this announcement really misses the target when trying to explain what is driving Kroger's move.
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White breeder chickens by a watering system

Tyson video shows poultry welfare requires training, feedback

Undercover videos are selectively edited, but this one contains a few learning opportunities for poultry companies.
Poultry producers need to rethink the kind of feedback that is given to crews that handle live birds at all stages of their operations and pay particular attention to areas where injury to birds doesn’t result in significant economic loss.
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‘McPicture’ of cage-housed hens not accurate for US

McDonald's may need to better educate its public relations team on what modern cage housing looks like
Because of its size and the high visibility of its brand, McDonald’s has become a target for just about every activist group out there. The resulting public relations smear campaigns have resulted in the fast food giant making several changes in its purchasing practices for items as diverse as eggs, coffee, chicken meat and packaging materials.
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