CP gains Thailand’s first cage-free layer certification

CP Foods is the first company in Thailand to have its cage-free egg production officially recognized.

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CP Foods is responding to growing consumer and corporate demand for cage-free eggs. | (CP Foods)
CP Foods is responding to growing consumer and corporate demand for cage-free eggs. | (CP Foods)

Charoen Pokphand Foods (CP) is the first company in Thailand to be awarded national certification for its cage-free egg production.

CP was the first company to apply for certification and the first to achieve it following the official launch of the certification program by the Thai government in early 2021. The company intends to convert its entire layer business to cage-free egg production and official recognition will allow it to demonstrate that it is working to recognized standards.

Model for the future

Certification was granted to the company’s Wang Somboon farm, which comprises 12 layer houses, producing 10 million eggs per annum and which has been operating cage-free since 2018. The farm follows the European Union model and hens are raised following the Five Freedoms approach.

With growing interest in animal welfare, CP announced in 2017 that it planned to move all of its layer operations in Thailand to cage-free production and that, by 2020, poultry welfare officers would be appointed across its entire egg businesses in all countries.

The same year, it appointed an animal welfare committee to set policies, targets, and plans, including monitoring and follow-up. 2019 saw the company launch a manual of standards on animal welfare.

The company notes that demand for higher welfare is growing from both its home market and overseas buyers and that improving welfare across its businesses will help to better align with changing customer requiremements.

Further expansion planned

CP has been running the Wang Somboon Farm, in Saraburi province, as a prototype for the rest of its layer business for the last three years and will expand its capacity in 2021 to 15 million eggs annually.

The company expressed its support for the new government standard late last year, offering to share the knowledge that it had gained from the pilot farm with the rest of the industry. Being early adopters of higher welfare in Asia would benefit the whole industry, it argued.

Somkid Wannalukkhee, senior vice president for CP Foods' egg business, commented: ‚ÄúThe Department of Livestock Development‚Äôs cage-free standard certification is a major milestone for Wang Somboon Farm and Thailand‚Äôs layer and farming industry, which strives to meet international standards. The certification also reflects CP Foods‚Äô commitment to strengthen food safety and animal welfare standards in Thailand‚Äôs agriculture sector.‚ÄĚ

Layer-on-perch

Located in the central Thai province of Saraburi, hens at the company’s pilot cage-free farm benefit from various enrichments. | CP Foods

Each layer house at Wang Somboon Farm has a maximum stocking density of 9 hens per square meter and is enriched to allow hens to exhibit natural behaviors. The company notes that, for example, the flooring system in the houses favors foraging and dust bathing. Eggs are removed automatically from each house’s nesting area and lighting, temperature and ventilation are all automatically controlled

Additionally, the latest biosecurity controls are in place on the farm to protect birds, in this case the company’s F100 breed. Layers are grain fed and raised without antibiotics.

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