Welsh broiler farmers can comment on welfare rules

Welsh broiler growers are to get their chance to comment on new broiler welfare rules which set down legal limits on stocking density and lighting levels.

Broiler growers in England and Northern Ireland have already had the chance to comment on the draft regulations, which for the first time establish a legal baseline for all producers across the EU, including those who are not within any voluntary assurance schemes.

The rules are also unique in taking account of welfare outcomes, such as leg health rather than concentrating on inputs such as stocking density and lighting levels. Flocks will be routinely monitored at abattoirs for signs of poor welfare and any lapses acted upon.

Official vets will check birds for any signs that indicate a welfare problem on the farm. If it is suspected that welfare is being compromised, the producer will be asked to take remedial action and set improvement targets, which will be followed up by the local animal health officer.

Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones said: “I would urge anyone with an interest in the welfare of meat chickens to respond to this consultation.

“Meat chickens are the last major intensive sector not to have their own welfare rules in the EU. This regulation aims to fill that gap and create a level playing field for all producers,” she said.

The 12-week public consultation on the draft regulations will run until 22 July.

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