The British Poultry Council has warned against speculation on the content of a Farm Animal Welfare Committee (FAWC) report due to be published in October.

Over the last two weeks there has been media speculation, including the BBC’s Farming Today, concerning the content of the Farm Animal Welfare Council’s (FAWC) report on the welfare of poultry at slaughter. It was sparked by comments made by the committee chairman at the recent FAWC Open Meeting held in London.

At the meeting, while not revealing the recommendations in the report, committee chairman David Henderson outlined in some detail the welfare concerns that the group expressed while reviewing the evidence. Evidence comprised of published papers, visits to plants and discussions with experts and the industry.

The British Poultry Council stressed that BPC members had been involved with Bristol University over a number of years, in joint research on bird welfare in both electrical and gas stunning systems and have implemented several welfare improvements resulting from this work.

Commenting on the media stories, Peter Bradnock, BPC chief executive, said: “It is not helpful to have this amount of premature comment and speculation. What is important is to see what FAWC are actually saying in the report and on what scientific basis they are saying it.

“Consumers would be better informed after all organisations involved have had a chance to objectively consider the FAWC report, when it is eventually published. That consideration, rather than premature comment, should be the basis for the future of poultry slaughter methods.

“British Poultry Council will be studying the recommendations made by FAWC and will be looking at what action is necessary with our members and with researchers. We will also be considering it in the context of the EU Commission’s proposals to amend the existing EU welfare at slaughter regulations.”