Giving broilers windows, feeding processed animal protein (PAP) to chickens and including GM feed in their rations were all on the agenda at the most recent NFU poultry board meeting at Stoneleigh.

Board members were sceptical about the increasing demand for windows to be put in poultry sheds, as demanded by retailers, without any evidence that consumers actually expected such action.

They were concerned that windows would increase heating costs in winter and make sheds hotter in summer. They would also worsen the sector’s carbon footprint and leave standard chicken producers more vulnerable to imports from Third World countries with lower standards.

Adding bales and perches would also make sheds more difficult to work in and add to costs, with no signs that retailers were prepared to offer producers a better price.

The board also restated its position on the inclusion of non-ruminant PAP in poultry diets. It welcomed the EU Commission’s work in this area, but emphasised that it should only be used if retailers and consumers accept it.

Support was also given to including GM soya in diets. The board felt its inclusion was not as big an issue with consumers, as it had advantages in terms of sustainability, including reducing the use of diesel and water.