Moy Park has revealed their latest piece of kit to help speed up harvesting on broiler farms, the Apollo Universal Generation 2. Harvesting machines are increasingly used in Europe but in the UK they are still rare, making Moy Park’s move one of the first tentative steps by the industry into mechanised catching.
What do you think of the machine? Are you worried it will hurt the fortunes of catchers in rural areas which rely on the piecemeal work catching birds?
Or do you think it’s manna from heaven for group like Viva! and CiWF which, presumably, would be oppose its use despite the welfare benefits for the birds?
I eat chicken, mainly breasts, about twice a week on average, occasionally three if it is convenient to pick up a BBQ’d one for lunch, but the lethargy of these birds makes me wonder whether the meat is really as good as it could be. At the beginning of the film in the shed it looked as if one was already dead and another not far off since they made no effort to move away from the catcher. Presumably these would be picked up by the catcher and processed. The very few seconds of the cross conveyor action is not a particuarly humane sight either.
Are these people really to be classified as farmers the same as the rest of us, and are they really interested in the welfare of their stock, or are they just looking for the cheapest way possible to make money from a small area of land?
Just so nobody gets the wrong idea. I prefer my chicken to be from fast growing broiler birds. I have bought, and also reared myself, the so-called free range broilers. I do not like them. The old-fashioned 7 or 8 months old cockerel from Light Sussex, Rhode and similar heavy breeds I like, but not a 3 months old broiler.
I have bought, and also reared myself, the so-called free range broilers. I do not like them. The old-fashioned 7 or 8 months old cockerel from Light Sussex, Rhode and similar heavy breeds I like, but not a 3 months old broiler.
My Christmas birds are despatched at around 24 weeks by me, after a wonderful life of grapes, apples, maize, wheat, grass and non ACS growers. plus some milk.
But Wow. What a collecting machine and associated handling system. And if I were in mass production I would have had one by now..
I hate to pander to their whims but, the animal rights mentalists would have an absolute field day with that video, and the Guardian Reading fraternity would simply see chickens being harvested like cauliflower or potatoes. It would fuel the falmes of their anti-farming fire even more!
I am no expert in mass fowl production and as such wouldn’t presume to pass judgment on the pro’s and con’s of such an ingenious looking machine, but from a purely public relations view point, I wonder weather this would do the industry any favours?
I think despite the objections some people might have to this sort of catching I think it’s excellent that there are publicly available videos of this method of catching. If it’s viewed in context and explained to people then a majority will understand its higher welfare, quicker and less stressful for the birds as well as being more efficient. I think the more the industry closes its doors and tries to hide practices from consumers the more likely they are to suffer from poor perception. Openness, education and honesty with the public is the way to ensure farming’s strong future and to breed a loyal consumer base.