Research Project Details

Project Details

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Objective Welfare Benchmarking
Summary This project will compile a list of welfare indicators currently being collected on meat chickens during rearing, lairage and slaughter. The intention is to use the measurements currently being undertaken by industry to develop a consistent framework for objective welfare assessment that can be voluntarily adopted by the industry. Adoption of this framework will assist the industry to selfassess welfare performance and will also assist with prioritising research to improve welfare and productivity.

The genesis of this study was recent research into litter conditions, especially ‘wet litter’, which affects many of the measurable welfare indicators including ammonia concentration and foot pad dermatitis (FPD). Additionally, a recent RIRDC literature review highlighted the potential to use welfare monitoring for continuous improvement and assessed some of the most useful and objective welfare indicators.

The proposed study is the first step towards conducting an epidemiological study to determine the leading causes of objectively measurable welfare outcomes and to find correlations with environmental or physiological measurements that the industry already uses or could readily adopt. Outcomes from an industrywide epidemiological study will enable future research and corrective actions to be prioritised. Adoption of consistent, convenient welfare measurement protocols by the industry is a first, necessary step.
Program Chicken Meat
Research organisation The State of Queensland acting through the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Objective summary The objective is to find out how, what, where, when and why the industry is currently measuring welfare indicators: what is being measured; how measurements are made; where and when measurements are made (onfarm or at the processing plant); why each measurement has been selected and why methods may vary between companies (e.g. due to different customer demands or based on practical experience).

Information gathered during this survey will be used to draft a welfare assessment framework for industry review and development.
Project Stage Current
Project start date Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Project completion date Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Journal articles from project Not Available
National priority Promoting and maintaining good health
Rural priority Advanced Technology
RIRDC goal CME-Deliver safe food and good animal welfare outcomes
Principal researcher Mark Dunlop
Research manager Michael Beer
Admin contact Paul Hickey