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Welfare Quality®, Assessment Protocol for Poultry (Broilers, Laying Hens)

Authors:
Welfare Quality
®
Assessment protocol for poultry
1
Acknowledgement
“The present document originates from the Welfare Quality
®
research project which has
been co-financed by the European Commission, within the 6th Framework Research,
contract No. FOOD-CT-2004-506508.
The text represents the authors’ views and does not necessarily represent a position of
the Commission who will not be liable for the use made of such information”.
Disclaimer
Restrictions on use of the integrated Welfare Quality
®
system
This document presents the practical assessment protocols required to carry out a Welfare
Quality
®
assessment. The practical application and integrity of this system depends upon the
following;
Training and validation in the methods and protocols is essential.
Ownership or possession of these assessment documents alone does not indicate
capacity to carry out assessment without adequate approved training.
No individual or organisation can be considered capable of applying these methods in a
robust, repeatable, and valid way without attending harmonised training approved by the
Welfare Quality
®
consortium.
The strength of the integrated approach lies in the use of the entire assessment method.
Use of isolated elements of the Welfare Quality
®
system will not be considered as
appropriate for assessing animal welfare.
The application of the Welfare Quality
®
logo, and reference to the Welfare Quality
®
assessment system in promotional or other commercial material (including training
material), is dependent upon agreed conditions of use, which must be negotiated with the
Welfare Quality
®
consortium as represented by the coordinator. Non-promotional and non
commercial reference to the Welfare Quality
®
system, for example in scientific literature
or documentation describing welfare assessment in general, is encouraged.
Nothing in this publication may be copied without the permission of the Welfare Quality
®
Consortium, represented by the coordinator:
ASG Veehouderij BV, Lelystad, The Netherlands.
© 2009 by ASG Veehouderij BV
Welfare Quality
®
project office
Mrs. Anke de Lorm
PO Box 65, 8200 AB Lelystad, The Netherlands
Anke.delorm@wur.nl
This document presents version 1 of the assessment protocol for poultry.
October 1
st
, 2009
2
Foreword
The European Welfare Quality
®
project developed standardized ways of assessing animal
welfare and a standardized way of integrating this information to enable farms and
slaughterhouses to be assigned to one of four categories (from poor through to good animal
welfare).
One of the innovations of the Welfare Quality
®
animal welfare assessment system is that it
focuses more on animal-based measures (e.g. directly related to animal body condition, health
aspects, injuries, behaviour, etc.). Existing approaches largely concentrate on design or
management-based characteristics (e.g. size of cage or pen, flooring specifications etc.). Of
course, this does not mean that resource-based or management-based factors are ignored in
Welfare Quality
®
; and many of these are important features of the system. A particular attraction
of using animal-based measures is that they show the ‘outcome’ of the interaction between the
animal and its environment (housing design and management) and this combined outcome is
assessed by the Welfare Quality
®
assessment system.
This protocol provides a description of the Welfare Quality
®
assessment procedure for poultry.
Within the Welfare Quality
®
project, these assessment protocols have been developed through
the collaboration of a large number of research groups and institutes. A list of the contributors to
Welfare Quality
®
can be found in Annex C. Special thanks are due to Bosse Algers, Arnd Bassler,
Raphaëlle Botreau, Steve Brown, Laëtitia Colin, Paolo Ferrari, Björn Forkman, Ernst Froehlich,
Christine Graml, Henk Gunnink, Tersia Heiskanen, Ingrid de Jong, Anne Larsen, Tine Lentfer,
Christine Leterrier, Ute Knierim, Knut Niebuhr, Victoria Sandilands, Marion Staack, Esther
Struelens, Susanne Waiblinger, Francoise Wemelsfelder, Sue Haslam, Heike Schulze Westerath,
Rebecka Westin, Lindsay Wilkins, Steve Wotton and Patrick Zimmerman for their work in the
development of the final protocols.
This report has been edited by Andy Butterworth (University of Bristol), Cecile Arnould (Institut
National de la Recherche Agronomique) and Thea Fiks-van Niekerk (ID-Lelystad, Instituut voor
dierhouderij en diergezondheid) for the poultry specific parts. Furthermore Isabelle Veissier
(Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique) and Linda Keeling (Sveriges
Lantbruksuniversitet) edited the introductory parts of the document. Isabelle Veissier also
contributed to the development of the calculation systems and the English edit was carried out by
Andy Butterworth. Gwen van Overbeke and Vere Bedaux (NEN, Netherlands Standardization
Institute) supported the writing and editing of the protocol.
The Welfare Quality
®
protocols reflect the present scientific status of the Welfare Quality
®
project,
but will undergo an ongoing process of updating and revision since these protocols are
considered ‘living documents’.
Prof Dr Harry J. Blokhuis (Coordinator Welfare Quality
®
)
Uppsala, October 2009
Please use the following citation when referring to this document:
Welfare Quality
®
(2009). Welfare Quality
®
assessment protocol for poultry (broilers, laying hens).
Welfare Quality
®
Consortium, Lelystad, Netherlands.
3
Table of content
INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................................................. 5
GLOSSARY ..................................................................................................................................... 7
1. SCOPE ........................................................................................................................................ 8
2. LEGAL ASPECTS .................................................................................................................... 10
3. TERMS AND DEFINITIONS ..................................................................................................... 11
4. BACKGROUND TO THE WELFARE QUALITY
®
PROTOCOLS............................................. 13
4.1
O
VERALL STRUCTURE OF THE PROJECT
.................................................................................. 13
4.2
B
ASIC PRINCIPLES
................................................................................................................. 14
4.2.1 Introduction .................................................................................................................. 14
4.2.2 Defining welfare principles and criteria ........................................................................ 14
4.2.3 Measures developed to check criteria ......................................................................... 15
4.2.4 Calculation of scores.................................................................................................... 16
5. WELFARE QUALITY
®
APPLIED TO BROILER CHICKEN ..................................................... 21
5.1A
C
OLLECTION OF DATA FOR BROILER CHICKEN ON FARM
(
MEASURED ON FARM
) ...................... 21
5.1A.1 Good feeding ............................................................................................................. 22
5.1A.2 Good housing ............................................................................................................ 22
5.1A.3 Good health ............................................................................................................... 26
5.1A.4 Appropriate behaviour ............................................................................................... 28
5.1A.5 Sampling and practical information ........................................................................... 31
5.1B
C
OLLECTION OF DATA FOR BROILER CHICKEN ON FARM
(
MEASURED AT SLAUGHTERHOUSE
) .. 32
5.1B.1 Good feeding ............................................................................................................. 32
5.1B.2 Good housing ............................................................................................................ 33
5.1B.3 Good health ............................................................................................................... 33
5.1B.4 Appropriate behaviour ............................................................................................... 38
5.1B.5 Sampling and practical information ........................................................................... 39
5.2
C
ALCULATION OF SCORES FOR BROILER CHICKEN ON FARM
.................................................... 39
5.2.1 Criterion scores ............................................................................................................ 39
5.2.2 Principle scores ............................................................................................................ 51
5.2.3 Overall assessment ..................................................................................................... 53
5.3
C
OLLECTION OF DATA FOR BROILER CHICKEN AT SLAUGHTERHOUSE
....................................... 54
5.3.1 Good feeding ............................................................................................................... 54
5.3.2 Good housing ............................................................................................................... 55
5.3.3 Good health ................................................................................................................. 55
5.3.4 Appropriate behaviour ................................................................................................. 58
5.3.5 Sampling and practical information .............................................................................. 58
5.4
C
ALCULATION OF SCORES FOR BROILER CHICKEN AT SLAUGHTERHOUSE
................................. 59
6. WELFARE QUALITY
®
APPLIED TO LAYING HENS .............................................................. 60
6.1
C
OLLECTION OF DATA FOR LAYING HENS ON FARM
.................................................................. 60
6.1.1 Good feeding ............................................................................................................... 61
6.1.2 Good housing ............................................................................................................... 62
6.1.3 Good health ................................................................................................................. 66
6.1.4 Appropriate behaviour ................................................................................................. 72
6.1.5 Sampling and practical information .............................................................................. 79
6.2
C
ALCULATION OF SCORES FOR LAYING HENS ON FARM
........................................................... 81
6.3
C
OLLECTION OF DATA FOR LAYING HENS AT SLAUGHTERHOUSE
.............................................. 81
6.4
C
ALCULATION OF SCORES FOR LAYING HENS AT SLAUGHTERHOUSE
........................................ 81
4
ANNEX A: GUIDELINE FOR VISIT OF ANIMAL UNIT ............................................................... 82
ANNEX B: RECORDING SHEETS (RS) ...................................................................................... 85
B1.
RS
BROILER CHICKEN ON FARM
............................................................................................. 85
B2.
RS
BROILER CHICKEN AT SLAUGHTERHOUSE
......................................................................... 91
B3.
RS
LAYING HENS ON FARM
.................................................................................................... 95
B4.
RS
LAYING HENS AT SLAUGHTERHOUSE
............................................................................... 108
ANNEX C: CONTRIBUTORS TO WELFARE QUALITY
®
.......................................................... 109
COLOPHON 116
5
Introduction
Animal welfare is an important attribute of an overall ‘food quality concept’ and consumers expect
their animal-related products, especially food, to be produced with respect for the welfare of the
animals. Recent surveys carried out by the European Commission
1
as well as studies within the
Welfare Quality
®
project
2
, confirm that animal welfare is an issue of considerable significance for
European consumers and that European citizens show a strong commitment to animal welfare. In
order to accommodate societal concerns about the welfare quality of animal food products as well
as related market demands, e.g. welfare as a constituent aspect of product quality, there is a
pressing need for reliable science based systems for assessing the animals’ welfare status
3
.
In January 2006 the European Commission adopted a Community Action Plan on the Protection
and Welfare of Animals
4
. The Action Plan outlines the Commission’s planned initiatives and
measures to improve the protection and welfare of animals for the period 2006-2010. The Action
Plan aims to ensure that animal welfare is addressed in the most effective manner possible, in all
EU sectors and through EU relations with Third Countries. Among other things the Action Plan
foresees a classification system for animal welfare practices, to differentiate between cases
where minimum standards are applied and cases where even higher standards are used. It also
foresees setting up standardised indicators whereby production systems which apply higher
animal welfare standards than the minimum standards get due recognition. The option of an EU
label for animal welfare is also put forward, to promote products obtained in line with certain
animal welfare standards.
Consumers' concern and the apparent demand for information on animal welfare was the starting
point of Welfare Quality
®
, funded from the European Commission within the 6
th
EU programme.
The project started in 2004 and became the largest piece of integrated research work yet carried
out in animal welfare in Europe. The Welfare Quality
®
project is a partnership of 40 institutions in
Europe and, since 2006, four in Latin America. The partners are based in 13 European and four
Latin American countries.
The Welfare Quality
®
project set out to develop scientifically based tools to assess animal welfare.
The acquired data provide feedback to animal unit managers about the welfare status of their
animals, and is translated into accessible and understandable information on the welfare status of
food producing animals for consumers and others. Welfare Quality
®
also generates knowledge on
practical strategies to improve animal welfare on farm and at slaughter.
In a truly integrated effort Welfare Quality
®
combined analyses of consumer perceptions and
attitudes with existing knowledge from animal welfare science and thereby identified 12 criteria
that should be adequately covered in the assessment systems. To address these areas of
concern, it was decided to concentrate on so-called animal-based measures that address aspects
of the actual welfare state of the animals in terms of, for instance, their behaviour, fearfulness,
health or physical condition. Such animal-based measures include the effects of variations in the
way the farming system is managed (role of the farmer) as well as specific system-animal
interactions. However, it is clear that resource- and management-based measures can contribute
1
European Commission (2005). Attitudes of consumers towards the welfare of farmed animals. Eurobarometer, Brussels.
138 pp.
European Commission (2006). Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on a
Community Action Plan on the Protection and Welfare of Animals 2006-2010, COM (2006) 13 final, Brussels.
European Commission (2007). Attitudes of EU citizens towards Animal Welfare. Eurobarometer, Brussels. 82 pp.
2
Kjaernes, U., Roe, E. & Bock, B. (2007). Societal concerns on farm animal welfare. In: I. Veissier, B. Forkman and B.
Jones (Eds), Assuring animal welfare: from societal concerns to implementation (pp. 13-18). Second Welfare Quality
stakeholder conference, 3-4 May 2007, Berlin, Germany.
3
Blokhuis, H.J., Jones, R.B., Geers, R., Miele, M. & Veissier, I. (2003). Measuring and monitoring animal welfare:
transparency in the food product quality chain. Animal Welfare, 12, 445-455.
4
European Commission. (2006). Communication from the commission to the European Parliament and the Council on a
community action plan on the protection and welfare of animals 2006e2010, COM (2006) 13 final, Brussels.
6
to a welfare assessment if they are closely correlated to animal-based measures. Moreover,
resource- and management-based measures can also be used to identify risks to animal welfare
and identify causes of poor welfare so that improvement strategies can be implemented.
Following a common approach across animal species an integrated, standardized and, wherever
possible, animal-based methodology for assessment of animal welfare was then developed. The
chosen animal species, based on their economic and numeric importance, are pigs, poultry and
cattle. In addition, the focus has been on the production period of the animals´ life (i.e. on
farm/transport/slaughter).
The present protocol describes the procedures and requirements for the assessment of welfare in
poultry and is restricted to the key production animals, which are broiler chicken and laying hens.
The document is divided to present the collection of data for broiler chicken measured on farm
and then the collection of data measured at the slaughterhouse, but which are used in the
assessment of broiler welfare on farm. Thus these two sections complement each other and are
used together in the calculation of welfare scores for broiler chicken on farm. The following
section presents the collection of data for laying hens measured on farms. As yet there is no
protocol for collection of data at slaughter and no calculation of welfare scores for laying hens.
7
Glossary
ADT Avoidance distance test
Cm Centimetre(s)
(C-) m
2
Square (centi-) metre
DOA Dead on arrival
e.g. exempli gratia: for example
h Hour(s)
i.e. id est: that is
Kg Kilogram(s)
Ls Line speed (birds per minute)
Min Minute(s)
NO(T) Novel object (test)
QBA Qualitative behaviour assessment
RS Recording sheet
s Second(s)
VAS Visual analogue scale
8
1 Scope
This poultry protocol will deal with measures related to the welfare assessment for two categories
of poultry; broiler chickens and laying hens. The descriptions are kept as short as possible and for
training purposes more detailed descriptions of the measures are recommended. The information
gathered covers the production period on farm for broiler chicken and laying hens and the period
at the end of life, including transport and slaughter, for broiler chicken (see Figure 1).
Figure 1 Schematic reproduction of the different periods in the life of production poultry.
At least four major periods can be distinguished: the hatchery, the pullet rearing period for laying
hens (which runs from hatching to point of lay), the production period (chicken meat and eggs);
and the end of life of the animal, where it will be transported and slaughtered (see Table 1).
Some specific periods are not yet included in the protocols for some categories of animals:
For broilers the rearing period is essentially the production period and thus no
distinction between the two is made;
In this protocol we do not consider the hatchery or the pullet rearing period
(laying hens). No data will be collected during the time the animals are
transported, although measures taken at the slaughterhouse will indirectly allow
assessment of the welfare of broilers during transport to be assessed. Neither do
we consider parent or other poultry breeding stock;
Transport between farms, for example as sometimes occurs between rearing and
production periods is not considered;
The protocol is not applicable to other avian species such as ostriches, turkeys,
geese, ducks, quail or guinea fowl;
This is also shown in Table 1.
Rearing
Producing
End of life
Broiler chicken
Laying hens
Included in poultry protocols Not included in protocols
Table 1 Periods in the life of poultry which are considered in the Welfare Quality® protocols.
The protocols described in this section apply only to broiler chicken and laying hens (Gallus
gallus). The protocols for broiler chicken and laying hens are applicable in a wide range of animal
units, whether they are extensive or intensive.
9
When visiting a farm for professional assessment purposes, it may be appropriate to collect
additional information. Such information may be useful for management support or advice for the
farmer. This advisory support role must be separated from the inspection role as in general,
assessors must not involve themselves in giving prescriptive advice to clients. If additional
information is collected, this may contribute to improved efficiency in the long term, by reducing
the total number of visits to particular farms. However since this document deals with the
assessment system, only questions necessary for the assessment process are included. It is
proposed that any additional questions aimed at advisory support are best developed
independently by the advisory or management support services in each country.
10
2 Legal aspects
The Welfare Quality
®
protocols should only be applied to farming systems which operate within
the applicable legal framework of the country. The Welfare Quality
®
protocols do not replace or
supersede any existing farm assurance or legal standards. They provide an additional tool for the
assessment of animal welfare using predominantly animal-based measures and as such can add
valuable additional information to existing inspection programs.
The individual animal unit manager has responsibility to operate within legal requirements. It is
not considered feasible or desirable to list all legal statutes relevant to animal and farm operation
in Europe within this document. For those reasons, a list of current normative legal texts is not
provided for within the Welfare Quality
®
protocols.
However, the current key legislative framework can be found at the webpage of EUR-lex, where
the relevant treaties, legislation, case-law and legislative proposals can be consulted.
1
If the
application or interpretation of any element of this standard conflicts with legislation, current
acting legislation always has priority.
1
http://eur-lex.europa.eu
11
3 Terms and definitions
Advisor
Person who uses the outcome of the Welfare Quality
®
protocols and other information to advise
the animal unit manager on how to improve welfare
NOTE This is distinct from the assessor
Animal unit
Section of a farm, a transport unit or a slaughter plant that deals with a certain type of animal
NOTE An animal unit can, for example, be the section of a farm where all adult animals are kept or the
section of a slaughter plant where all animals are handled and slaughtered
Animal unit manager
Person responsible for an animal unit
NOTE This can be the manager on the farm, the driver of the transport vehicle or the slaughter plant
manager (or person responsible for animal care)
Animal-based measure
Measure that is taken directly from the animal
NOTE Animal-based measures can include, for instance, behavioural and clinical observations
Assessment protocol
An assessment protocol is a description of the procedures and requirements for the overall
assessment of welfare
Assessor
Person in charge of collecting data using the Welfare Quality
®
protocols on an animal unit in order
that the welfare of animals is assessed
Broiler chicken (Gallus gallus)
Domesticated fowl of genotypes suitable for meat production
Flock cycle
A broiler flock cycle starts when the one-day old chicks are placed in the broiler house and ends
when the flock is transported to the slaughterhouse
A laying hen flock cycle starts when a young flock, about 16 weeks, is placed in the laying bird house and
ends when the flock is slaughtered.
Laying hen (Gallus gallus)
Domesticated fowl of genotypes predominantly selected for laying eggs, and additionally
sometimes used for meat production
Management-based measure
Measures which refer to what the animal unit manager does on the animal unit and what
management processes are used
NOTE Management-based measures contain, for instance, the procedures used to protect animals from
disease, including for example maintaining good litter quality
Overall assessment of welfare
Synthesis of welfare information, which will then be used to allocate an animal unit to a welfare
category
NOTE The overall assessment of welfare reflects the overall welfare state of the animals
Pullet (Gallus gallus)
Young laying birds before onset of egg laying
12
Resource-based measure
Measure that is taken regarding the environment in which the animals are kept
NOTE Resource-based measures contain for instance the number of drinkers
Transport unit
The transportation truck, lorry, module etc. which is considered as part of an animal unit for
assessment purposes
Welfare category
Final categorization given to an animal unit that indicates the overall welfare of animals in that
particular unit
NOTE This is expressed on a 4 level scale: not classified, acceptable, enhanced, and excellent
Welfare criterion
Represents a specific area of welfare concern that has to be addressed to satisfy good animal
welfare
NOTE An example of a welfare criterion is “absence of prolonged hunger”
Welfare measure
Measure taken on an animal unit that is used to assess a welfare criterion
NOTE A measure can be animal-based, resource-based or management-based
Welfare principle
Collection of criteria associated with one of the following four areas: feeding, housing, health and
behaviour
Welfare Quality
®
protocol
Description of the measures that will be used to calculate the overall assessment of welfare
NOTE The protocols also specify how the data will be collected
Welfare score
Score that indicates how well an animal unit fulfils a criterion or principle
13
4 Background Welfare Quality
®
protocols
This chapter outlines the principles and overall structure of the Welfare Quality
®
protocols and
how they are to be used in the overall assessment of animal welfare.
4.1 Overall structure of the project
Welfare Quality
®
has developed a system to enable overall assessment of welfare and the
standardised conversion of welfare measures into summary information.
The welfare assessment related to a specific animal unit is based on the calculation of welfare
scores from the information collected on that unit. An advisor can use the welfare assessment to
highlight points requiring the animal unit manager’s attention. The information can also be used to
inform consumers about the welfare status of animal products or the welfare quality of the supply
chain.
The species protocols contain all the measures relevant for the species and an explanation of
what data should be collected, and in what way.
The species protocols address animals at different stages of their lives and/or in various housing
systems. It can cover the rearing, the production, or the end of life of the animal, which includes
transport and slaughter (Figure 2). At the moment there are no measures that are carried out
during the actual transport process, but the effects of transport on welfare can be determined by
examining the animals on arrival at the slaughterhouse. Transport measures may be added in the
future.
Figure 2 The different sources of information in Welfare Quality
®
. It is outside the scope of this
document, but potential use of the output generated includes information provided to consumers,
advisors and retailers.
14
4.2 Basic principles
4.2.1 Introduction
Welfare is a multidimensional concept. It comprises both physical and mental health and includes
several aspects such as physical comfort, absence of hunger and disease, possibilities to perform
motivated behaviour, etc. The importance attributed to different aspects of animal welfare may
vary between different people.
The different measurable aspects of welfare to be covered are turned into welfare criteria. The
criteria reflect what is meaningful to animals as understood by animal welfare science. They also
have to be agreed by stakeholders in order to ensure that wider ethical and societal issues have
been dealt with, and furthermore to maximize the likelihood of successful translation into practice.
In the case of Welfare Quality
®
these have been systematically discussed with members of the
general public and farmers, as well as with representatives of these and other stakeholder
groups.
A top-down approach was used - four main welfare principles were identified and then split into
twelve independent welfare criteria. Finally measures were selected to assess these welfare
criteria. In general, the principles and criteria which have been chosen are relevant for different
species and throughout an animal’s entire lifespan. A bottom-up approach, i.e. stepwise
integration of measures, leads ultimately to the overall assessment of welfare (see Figure 3).
Animals differ in their genetics, early experience and temperament and therefore may experience
the same environment in different ways. Even apparently similar environments may be managed
differently by the stockperson, further affecting animals’ experience of a particular situation.
Because welfare is a characteristic of the individual animal, Welfare Quality
®
has based its
welfare assessment essentially on animal-based measures (e.g. health and behaviour). Since
resource-based measures (e.g. type of housing and stocking density) or management-based
measures (e.g. breeding strategies and health plans) are a poor direct guarantee of good animal
welfare in a particular situation, these measures are avoided within the protocols. However, when
no animal-based measure is available to check a criterion, or when such a measure is not
sensitive or reliable enough, measures of the resources or the management are used to check as
much as possible that a given welfare criterion is met.
There is no gold standard measure of overall animal welfare and no available information on the
relative importance animals attribute to the various welfare aspects. Welfare Quality
®
scientists
are aware that the production of an overall assessment of animal welfare is by nature bound to
ethical decisions, e.g. on whether we should consider the average state of animals vs. the worst
ones, whether we should consider each welfare criterion separately vs. together in a more holistic
approach, or whether a balance between societal aspirations for high welfare levels and the
realistic achievements of such levels in practice should be achieved. Welfare Quality
®
scientists
did not decide upon these ethical issues themselves. They consulted experts, including animal
scientists, social scientists, and stakeholders, and the methodology for overall assessment was
then adjusted according to their opinions; that is that all of the parameters used in the scoring
model were optimised so as to best match expert opinions.
4.2.2 Defining welfare principles and criteria
Each welfare principle is phrased in such a way that it communicates a key welfare question.
Four main principles are identified: good feeding, good housing, good health, appropriate
behaviour. They correspond to the questions:
Are the animals properly fed and supplied with water?
Are the animals properly housed?
Are the animals healthy?
Does the behaviour of the animals reflect optimized emotional states?
15
Each principle comprises two to four criteria. Criteria are independent of each other and form an
exhaustive but minimal list. Welfare principles and criteria are summarized in Table 2.
Welfare
principles
Welfare
criteria
Good feeding
1 Absence of prolonged hunger
2 Absence of prolonged thirst
Good housing
3 Comfort around resting
4 Thermal comfort
5 Ease of movement
Good health
6 Absence of injuries
7 Absence of disease
8 Absence of pain induced by management procedures
Appropriate
behaviour
9 Expression of social behaviours
10 Expression of other behaviours
11 Good human-animal relationship
12 Positive emotional state
Table 2 The principles and criteria that are the basis for the Welfare Quality
®
assessment
protocols.
More detailed definitions of welfare criteria are described below.
1. Animals should not suffer from prolonged hunger, i.e. they should have a suitable and
appropriate diet.
2. Animals should not suffer from prolonged thirst, i.e. they should have a sufficient and
accessible water supply.
3. Animals should have comfort when they are resting.
4. Animals should have thermal comfort, i.e. they should neither be too hot nor too cold.
5. Animals should have enough space to be able to move around freely.
6. Animals should be free of injuries, e.g. skin damage and locomotory disorders.
7. Animals should be free from disease, i.e. animal unit managers should maintain high
standards of hygiene and care.
8. Animals should not suffer pain induced by inappropriate management, handling,
slaughter, or surgical procedures (e.g. castration, dehorning).
9. Animals should be able to express normal, non-harmful, social behaviours (e.g.
grooming).
10. Animals should be able to express other normal behaviours, i.e. it should be possible to
express species-specific natural behaviours such as foraging.
11. Animals should be handled well in all situations, i.e. handlers should promote good
human-animal relationships.
12. Negative emotions such as fear, distress, frustration or apathy should be avoided
whereas positive emotions such as security or contentment should be promoted.
4.2.3 Measures developed to check criteria
Whenever possible, the final Welfare Quality
®
assessment measures have been evaluated with
respect to their validity (does the measure reflect some aspect of the actual welfare of animals),
reliability (acceptable inter or intra observer repeatability and robustness to external factors e.g.
time of day or weather conditions) and their feasibility. A further important aspect of this data
collection is that value judgements are minimized, i.e. the assessor counts or classifies animals
according to a simple series of categories illustrated by pictures or video clips. Hence measures
in the protocols do not require veterinary diagnostic expertise or specialist animal behaviour
knowledge to be accurately recorded. Some measures which were initially proposed did not meet
these conditions and were dropped from the scheme early in the evaluation process, whereas
other measures have been accepted in anticipation of further improvements and refinements.
This latter concession is because at least one measure per criterion is needed to assess overall
animal welfare. For some criteria, it has been necessary to include resource- and/or
16
management-based measures because no animal-based measure was sufficiently sensitive or
satisfying in terms of validity, reliability, or feasibility.
NOTE It is important to remember that research is continuing to identify new and better measures and that
Welfare Quality
®
protocols will be updated in the light of new knowledge.
4.2.4 Calculation of scores
Once all the measures have been performed on an animal unit, a bottom-up approach is followed
to produce an overall assessment of animal welfare on that particular unit: first the data collected
(i.e. values obtained for the different measures on the animal unit) are combined to calculate
criterion-scores; then criterion-scores are combined to calculate principle-scores; and finally the
animal unit is assigned to one welfare category according to the principle-scores it attained
(Figure 3). A mathematical model has been designed to produce the overall assessment.
Measures
Criteria
Overall assessment
Principles
~30 412
1
Measures
Criteria
Overall assessment
Principles
~30 412
1
Figure 3 Bottom-up approach for integrating the data on the different measures to an overall
assessment of the animal unit.
Calculation of criterion-scores
Although this is not generally the case, some measures may be related to several criteria (e.g.
low body condition score can originate from hunger or disease, or both). In order to avoid double
counting measures have been allocated to only one criterion, except in very few cases where we
could distinguish the way they were interpreted (e.g. access of cattle to pasture is used to check
the Ease of movement criterion, especially for animals which are tethered in winter, and the
Expression of other behaviour).
The data produced by the measures relevant to a given criterion are interpreted and synthesized
to produce a criterion-score that reflects the compliance of the animal unit to this criterion. This
compliance is expressed on a ‘0’ to ‘100’ value scale, in which:
‘0’ corresponds to the worst situation one can find on an animal unit (i.e. the situation
below which it is considered there cannot be further decrements in welfare)
‘50’ corresponds to a neutral situation (i.e. level of welfare is not bad but not good)
‘100’ corresponds to the best situation one can find on a farm (i.e. the situation in which it
is considered there cannot be further improvements in welfare).
Because the total number of measures, the scale on which they are expressed, and the relative
importance of measures varies between and within criteria and also between animal types, the
calculation of scores varies accordingly. In general there are three main types of calculation:
When all measures used to check a criterion are taken at farm level and are expressed in
a limited number of categories, a decision tree is produced. An example is provided in
Explanation box 1.
When a criterion is checked by only one measure taken at individual level, this scale
generally represents the severity of a problem and the proportion of animals observed
can be calculated (e.g. percentage animals walking normally, percentage moderately
lame animals, percentage severely lame animals). In that case a weighted sum is
Score 1
Score 2
Score 3
17
calculated, with weights increasing with severity. An example is provided in Explanation
box 2.
When the measures used to check a criterion lead to data expressed on different scales
(e.g. percentage animals lying outside the lying area, or average latency to lie down
expressed in seconds), data are compared to an alarm threshold that represents the limit
between what is considered abnormal and that considered to be normal. Then the
number of alarms is used as the measure value. An example is provided in Explanation
box 3.
Experts from animal sciences were consulted to interpret the raw data in terms of welfare. When
necessary, alarm thresholds were defined by consultation with them. Then experts were asked to
score virtual farms. In the situations where weighted sums were to be calculated, this consultation
was used to define weights that produce the same ranking of farms as the one given by experts.
This exercise showed that experts do not in general follow a linear reasoning, e.g. for a given
disorder a 10 % increase does not yield the same decrement in expert scores at the bottom of the
[0,100] scale (where most animals get this disorder) than at the top of the scale (when most
animals are normal). It is therefore necessary to resort to non-linear functions to produce
criterion-scores, in this case I-spline functions. Briefly, I-spline functions allow calculation of
portions of curves so as to obtain a smooth representative curve. They are expressed in the form
of cubic functions (Explanation box 2).
When a criterion was composed of very different measures which experts found difficult to
consider together, blocks of measures were aggregated using Choquet integrals (Explanation box
4).
Explanation box 1: Decision tree as applied to absence of prolonged thirst in fattening pigs
Thirst is not assessed directly on animals because signs of dehydration can be detected only in
extreme cases. Rather, the number of drinking places, their functioning and their cleanliness are
assessed. The recommended number of pigs is calculated (10 pigs per functioning drinking place and
5 for a drinking place of reduced capacity). If there are more pigs in the pen than recommended then
the number of drinking places is considered insufficient. Thereafter, cleanliness of drinkers and
whether pigs have access to two drinkers in the same pen is considered. The following decision tree is
applied:
Score
100
80
60
45
55
40
35
20
Is the number of
drinker places
sufficient?
Are the drinkers
clean?
Are there at least 2
drinkers available
for an animal?
Are there at least 2
drinkers available
for an animal?
Are the drinkers
clean?
Are there at least 2
drinkers available
for an animal?
Are there at least 2
drinkers available
for an animal?
Yes
No
Yes
No
Yes
No
Yes
No
18
Calculation of principle-scores from criterion-scores
Criterion-scores are synthesized to calculate principle-scores. For instance, the scores obtained
by an animal unit for absence of injuries, absence of disease, and absence of pain due to
management procedures are combined to reflect compliance of this unit with the principle ‘good
health’. Animal and social scientists were consulted, and considered some criteria to be more
important than others (e.g. in most animal types, ‘Absence of diseaseis considered to be more
important than ‘Absence of injuries’ which in turn is more important than ‘Absence of pain induced
by management procedures’). Nevertheless, synthesis does not allow compensation between
Explanation box 2: Weighted sum and I
-
spline functions as applied to lameness in dairy
cows
The % of animals moderately lame and the % of animals severely lame are combined in a
weighted sum, with a weight of 2 for mild lameness and 7 for severe lameness. This sum is then
transformed into an index that varies from 0 to 100:
Index for lameness I
=
2(%moderate)+7(%severe)
100-
7
This index is computed into a score using I-spline functions:
When I 65 then Score = (0.0988 x I) - (0.000955 x I² )- (5.34 x 10
-5
x I
3
)
When I 65 then Score = 29.9 - (0.944 x I) - (0.0145 x I²) + (1.92 x 10
-5
x I
3
)
0
20
40
60
80
100
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
% lame cows (weighted for severity)
Score
0
20
40
60
80
100
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
% lame cows (weighted for severity)
Score
Explanation box 3: Use of alarm thresholds applied to absence of diseases in broilers
In broiler chicken the following disorders are checked on the farm or at slaughter: ascites,
dehydration, septicaemia, hepatitis, pericarditis, subcutaneous abscesses. The incidence of each
disorder is compared to an alarm threshold, defined as the incidence above which a health plan
is required at the farm level.
Disorder
Alarm Threshold (%)
Ascites 1
Dehydration 1
Scepticaemia 1.5
Hepatitis 1.5
Pericarditis 1.5
Subcutaneous abscess 1
When the incidence observed on a farm reaches half the alarm threshold, a warning is attributed.
The number of alarms and warnings detected on a farm are calculated. They are used to
calculate a weighted sum finally transformed into a score using I-spline functions (as in the
example shown in Explanation box 2).
19
scores (e.g. absence of disease does not compensate for injuries and vice versa). A specific
mathematical operator (Choquet integral) was used to take into account these two lines of
reasoning. In short, the Choquet integral calculates the difference between the minimum score
and the next minimum score and attributes a weight (called ‘capacity’) to that difference. This
process is repeated until the highest score is reached. In the species-specific sections, only the
‘capacitiesare given (µ
x
for the capacity of a criterion x, µ
xy
for the capacity of a group made of 2
criteria x and y, etc.). An example of the calculation of principle-scores is provided in Explanation
box 4.
Explanation box 4: Use of a Choquet integral to calculate the principle-scores for ‘Good
health’.
‘Good health’ integrates 3 criteria; Absence of injuries’, ‘Absence of disease’, and ‘Absence of
pain induced by management procedures’. First the scores obtained by a farm for the 3 criteria
are sorted in increasing order. The first criterion-score is considered, and then the difference
between that score and the next criterion-score is multiplied by the ‘capacity’ (see explanation
below) of the group made of all criteria except the one that brings the lowest score. Following this,
the difference between the last but one score and the next score is multiplied by the ‘capacity’ of
the group made by the combined criteria except those that bring the two lowest scores. This can
be written as follows:
(
)
(
)
( ) ( )
( ) ( )
( ) ( )
( ) ( )
( ) ( )
µ µ
µ µ
µ µ
µ µ
µ µ
µ µ
+ +
+ +
+ +
=
+ +
+ +
+ +
6 7 6 78 8 7 8 6 7 8
6 8 6 78 7 8 7 6 8 7
7 6 7 68 8 6 8 7 6 8
7 8 7 68 6 8 6 7 8 6
8 6 8 67 7 6 7 8 6 7
8 7 8 67 6 7 6 8 7 7
if
if
if
Principle-score
if
if
S S S S S S S S
S S S S S S S S
S S S S S S S S
S S S S S S S S
S S S S S S S S
S S s S S if S S S
Where S
6
, S
7
, and S
8
are the scores obtained by a given farm for Criterion 6 (Absence of
injuries), 7 (Absence of disease), and 8 (Absence of pain due to procedures)
µ
6
µ
7
µ
8
are the capacities of Criterion 6, 7 and 8
µ
67
is the capacity of the group made of criteria 6 and 7, etc.
Assignment of animal units to the welfare categories
The scores obtained by an animal unit on all of the welfare principles are used to assign that farm
to a welfare category. At this stage, both animal scientists, social scientists, and stakeholders,
were consulted. The stakeholders were members of the Advisory committee of Welfare Quality®.
Four welfare categories were distinguished to meet stakeholders’ requirements:
Excellent: the welfare of the animals is of the highest level.
Enhanced: the welfare of animals is good.
Acceptable: the welfare of animals is above or meets minimal requirements.
Not classified: the welfare of animals is low and considered unacceptable.
‘Aspiration values’ are defined for each category. They represent the goal that the farm should try
to achieve to be assigned to a given category. The excellence threshold is set at 80, the one for
enhanced at 55 and that for acceptability at 20. But, just as criteria do not compensate each other
within a principle (see above), high scores in one principle do not offset low scores in another, so
categories cannot be based on average scores. At the same time, it is important that the final
classification reflects not only the theoretical acknowledgement of what can be considered
20
excellent, enhanced etc. but also what can realistically be achieved in practice. Therefore, a farm
is considered ‘excellent’ if it scores more than 55 on all principles and more than 80 on two of
them while it is considered ‘enhanced’ if it scores more than 20 on all principles and more than 55
on two of them. Farms with ‘acceptable’ levels of animal welfare score more than 10 on all
principles and more than 20 on three of them. Farms that do not reach these minimum standards
are not classified (Figure 4). An indifference threshold equal to 5 is applied: For instance, 50 is
not considered significantly lower than 55.
Software has been developed to calculate welfare scores and to produce the overall assessment
of animal units. For more information, contact the Welfare Quality
®
consortium, represented by its
coordinator (contact: Anke.delorm@wur.nl).
Final comments
The following sections are specific to the animal species covered in this document. They are
structured to present firstly the measures collected on farms, secondly the measures collected at
slaughter that apply to welfare assessment on-farm, thirdly the calculation of scores needed for
overall assessment, and finally the measures collected at slaughter that apply to assessment of
the welfare of the animals during transport and slaughter.
It should be emphasised that scientific research will continue to refine measures and that the
Welfare Quality
®
protocols will be updated in the light of new knowledge. Training and
validation in the methods and protocols is essential and no individual or organisation can be
considered capable of applying these methods in a robust, repeatable, and valid way without
attending harmonised training approved by the Welfare Quality
®
consortium.
Figure 4 Examples of farms in the four welfare categories.
Score
0
20
40
60
80
100
1
2
3
4
Feeding
Housing
Health
Behaviour
Excellent
Enhanced
Acceptable
Not classified
21
5 Welfare Quality
®
applied to broiler chicken
The assessment of welfare is a multi–disciplinary process since assessment on a variety of
different parameters can provide a more comprehensive assessment of an animal’s welfare in
any given system. To this end, the Welfare Quality
®
project utilizes physiological, health and
behavioural adaptations to assess the welfare of broiler chicken on farm and at the
slaughterhouse.
In this chapter, a description of each measure for broiler chicken is given, followed by information
about the sample size and the order in which the different measures must be carried out.
Before commencing farm visits, assessors will have been fully trained in all the measures that are
to be assessed using photographs, video clips and practical ‘on farmtraining. For some of the
health measures, this training will involve recognition of symptoms of certain conditions/diseases;
however it is imperative that this document is not used as a diagnostic tool to identify individual
health conditions, but rather as a tool to highlight the presence of health problems affecting the
welfare of animals. The assessor should not enter into discussions with the animal unit manager
on the prevalence or severity of different diseases on their farm; this is a matter for the animal
unit manager and the herd veterinarian. Additionally, in general, the role of the assessor is to
assess, and not to advise directly.
Trained assessors will use either animal–based, management-based or resource–based
measures to achieve a representative assessment of broiler chicken welfare on each farm. Many
different measures are assessed, and many are scored according to a three–point scale ranging
from 0 2. The assessment scales have been selected so that a score 0 is awarded where
welfare is good, a score 1 is awarded (where applicable) where there has been some
compromise on welfare, and a score 2 is awarded where welfare is poor and unacceptable. In
some cases a binary (0/2, i.e. Yes/No) or a continuous scale (e.g. cm) is used.
The assessor should prepare and start the visit according to the description in Annex A
(‘Guidelines for visit to an animal unit’). Data can be recorded with the aid of Annex B
(‘Recording Sheets’).
5.1A Collection of data for broiler chicken on farm (measured on farm)
Welfare Criteria
Measures
Good
feeding
1
Absence of prolonged
hunger
This criterion is measured at the
slaughterhouse
2 Absence of prolonged thirst Drinker space
Good
housing
3 Comfort around resting
Plumage cleanliness, litter quality, dust
sheet test
4 Thermal comfort Panting, huddling
5 Ease of movement Stocking density
Good health
6 Absence of injuries Lameness, hock burn, foot pad dermatitis
7 Absence of disease On farm mortality, culls on farm
8
Absence of pain induced by
management procedures
This criterion is not applied in this situation
Appropriate
behaviour
1
9
Expression of social
behaviours
As yet, no measure is developed for this
criterion
1
*
At the slaughter house, no management procedures such as beak trimming, claw cutting etc are carried out. However,
stunning and slaughter processes are carried out and these are assessed under the heading ‘assessed at slaughter’
22
10
Expression of other
behaviours
Cover on the range, free range
11
Good human-animal
relationship
Avoidance distance test (ADT)
12 Positive emotional state Qualitative behavioural assessment (QBA)
5.1A.1 Good feeding
5.1A.1.1 Absence of prolonged hunger
This criterion is measured at the slaughterhouse (see § 5.1B.1)
5.1A.1.2 Absence of prolonged thirst
Title
Drin
ker space
(birds per drinker)
Scope
Resource-based measure: Broiler chicken
Sample size
Animal unit
Method
description
Calculate the total number drinkers in the house according to drinker
type.
Nipples:
Calculate nipples per meter and then multiply by total track length.
Cups:
Calculate number of cups per meter and then multiply by total track
length.
Bell drinkers:
Estimate number of bell drinkers in the house.
The total number of birds in the house must also be provided.
Classification
Flo
ck level:
Number of nipples
Number of cups
Number of drinkers
Number of birds
5.1A.2 Good housing
5.1A.2.1 Comfort around resting
Title
Plumage cleanliness
Scope
Animal-based measure: Broiler chicken
Sample size
Sample size according to § 5.1A.5
Method
description
Before measurement, increase the light intensity inside the house if
necessary (as usually done by animal unit manager when inspecting the
flock).
Birds use their feathers to keep warm, to protect themselves from
moisture dirt and skin infections. Clean and healthy birds spend a lot of
time keeping their feathers ‘preened’ and if their feathers become wet
or soiled with litter (bedding), faeces or dirt, the feathers can lose their
protective properties and so severe soiling with either dirt or faeces can
have significant effects on bird welfare. Assess the cleanliness of the
plumage.
23
Walk slowly inside the house and catch birds one by one (10 in the
same location). Examine the breast of the birds and score using a
recording sheet (Annex B). If birds are very mobile (for example in free
range systems) it may be necessary to pen small groups of birds to
catch them.
Score using the classification described below.
Classification
Flock level:
Percentage of birds scoring ‘0’
Percentage of birds scoring ‘1’
Percentage of birds scoring ‘2’
Percentage of birds scoring ‘3'
© L J Wilkins and A Butterworth, University of Bristol
Title
Litter quality
Scope
Resource- and management-based measure: Broiler chicken
Sample size
Sample size according to § 5.1A.5
Method
description
Assess the quality of the bedding in the house according to the
parameters described below. Poor litter quality may indicate difficulties
in managing the litter which may reflect in skin and foot lesions related
to poor litter quality.
General comment on sampling and litter thickness:
Look at a number of locations in the house (minimum 4, maximum 6)
(i.e. under drinkers and feeders, along the edges of the house and close
to the doorways) to check whether there is a big variation in litter
thickness across the house. If so, can you detect areas of litter which
differ in appearance, or is the litter very uniform? If areas are different,
then ensure that you sample using the method described from these
areas of differing litter to reflect overall variability in the house.
Classification
0
– Completely dry and flaky, i.e. moves easily with the foot
1 – Dry but not easy to move with foot
2 – Leaves imprint of foot and will form a ball if compacted, but ball does
not stay together well
3 – Sticks to boots and sticks readily in a ball if compacted
4 – Sticks to boots once the cap or compacted crust is broken
Title
Dust sheet test
Scope
Management-based measure: Broiler chicken
0
1
2
3
24
Sample size
Animal unit
Method
description
The dust sheet test is conducted using a sheet of black A4 size paper.
Put the paper onto a clip board and place it above bird height (i.e. to
prevent pecking by birds) on a horizontal surface, preferably away from
feed machinery. Position the paper when first entering the house. Then
remove the sheet at the end of the assessment (which will take an
approximately fixed time interval). Write with a finger on the paper to get
an impression of the amount of dust on the paper.
Classify the dust level found on the paper as follows:
a. None
b. Little
c. Thin covering
d. Lot of dust
e. Paper colour not visible
Classification
0
– No evidence of dust (score ‘a’)
1 – Minimal evidence of dust (score ‘b’ or ‘c’)
2 – Evidence of dust (score ‘d’ or ‘e’)
5.1A.2.2 Thermal comfort
Title
Panting
Scope
Animal-based measure: Broiler chicken
Sample size
Sample size according to § 5.1A.5
Method
description
Panting is defined as breathing rapidly in short gasps.
High temperatures will cause birds to pant – this is a natural response
however, persistent panting indicates that the thermal environment is
not being maintained at a temperature which is comfortable for the birds
in the long term.
When a bird ‘pants it increases its respiratory rate to allow rapid
exchange of air to prevent overheating. The visible signs of panting are
that the birds often sit upright, open their beak and often make visible
respiratory movements.
Examine groups of birds at up to 5 well-distributed locations. If birds are
panting, count out 100 birds (do not disturb them and leave them sitting
where they are) and estimate how many of the 100 birds are panting.
Classification
Group level:
Percentage of the sample showing panting
Title
Huddling
Scope
Animal-based measure: Broiler chicken
Sample size
Sample size according to § 5.1A.5
Method
description
When birds are cool or cold, they will often group together into tight
groups, sitting closely alongside each other, often in clumps’ with areas
of empty space in between. This huddling is usually distinct from the
normal ‘loose groupingthat birds will show when resting. Huddling can
be a natural response to lower temperatures however, long
maintained or persistent huddling indicates that the thermal environment
is not being maintained at a temperature which is comfortable for the
birds in the long term.
Huddling is less common than panting, as birds are usually kept
adequately warm due to their stocking density and their production of
metabolic heat. In free range unheated housing huddling may be more
commonly seen. It is however possible for bird to get cold in cold
25
weather or if the house temperature falls due to high ventilation rates.
Examine groups of birds at up to 5 well-distributed locations. If birds are
clearly huddled together, due to the difficulty in identifying groups of 100
birds, estimate what proportion of the flock is affected by huddling. In
some houses where gas brooders or heaters are used, it may be seen
that birds huddle in colder spots in the house. Estimate the proportion of
the whole flock engaged in this behaviour.
Classification
Group level:
Estimated percentage of flock showing huddling behaviour
5.1A.2.3 Ease of movement
Title
Stocking density
Scope
Resource-based measure: Broiler chicken
Sample size
Animal unit
Method
description
First calculate the total dimension of useable space in which birds are
kept in m
2
and then divide it by number of birds present, according to
one of the two methods below (numbers or weight).
House area:
Measure internal dimensions of the house. If there is a farm statement
for the house area do a simple check by measuring house length by
width to check that farm statement is correct. If the stated dimension of
a house seems reliable (there has been a previous credible inspection
which has measured available space) one may be able to use these
measures instead of re-measuring the house. If the assessor solely
relies on the stated estimate for space provided by the farm this can
sometimes be incorrect.
If no farm statement is available, measure house (length x width) and
subtract for house ‘furniture’ (feeders, drinkers, structural elements of
the building etc.) which reduce the space available to the animals.
It may also be possible to use ultrasound or laser measurers to increase
the speed of measurement (not good in dusty environments or bright
light).
Furthermore, a practical approach to measuring large houses is to
measure a bay (i.e. section) and multiply by the number of bays, or
measure one cage or nest module and multiply by the total number.
Number of animals:
Ask for mortality figures to calculate the number of actual birds. Look for
paper evidence of delivery numbers of birds, and, after slaughter, the
number of birds slaughtered, which should be quite accurate (as long as
traceability of batches is good).
Weight loading:
Animal weights at a given age are often calculated by the animal unit
manager by trial weighing a small number of birds. Some farms have
step on automatic weighers, which can give average weights for the
birds (however, small birds, sick birds, lame birds do not use the
weighers).
Classification House area
m
2
and
Average bird weight kg
and
26
Number
of birds
5.1A.3 Good health
5.1A.3.1 Absence of injuries
Title
Lameness (gait sc
ore)
Scope
Animal-based measure: Broiler chicken
Sample size
Sample size according to § 5.1A.5
Method
description
Lameness is the inability to use one or both limbs in a normal manner.
It can vary in severity from reduced ability or inability to bear weight, to
total immobility.
For all farm visits, which are made close to slaughter age, 150 birds
approximately will be caught using a catching pen at random locations
generated by computer. For very flighty birds (for example some free
range birds) it may be necessary to catch small pens of birds. Each bird
is individually encouraged to walk out of the pen and is scored as it
does so.
For each bird caught, the gait score will be recorded. The flock average
gait score can be calculated by multiplying the number of birds in each
gait score category, then dividing the total by the total number of birds
scored. Birds are classified according to these criteria:
0. Normal, dextrous and agile
1. Slight abnormality, but difficult to define
2. Definite and identifiable abnormality
3. Obvious abnormality, affects ability to move
4. Severe abnormality, only takes a few steps
5. Incapable of walking
Classification
Individual level:
Number of animals in each scoring class (0,1,2,3,4,5)
and
Percentage of animals in each scoring class (0,1,2,3,4,5).
Title
Hock burn
Scope
Animal-based measure: Broiler chicken
Sample size
Sample size according to § 5.1A.5
Method
description
Hock burn is a contact dermatitis found on the skin of the caudal (back)
part of the hock joint. The skin is turned dark by contact with litter and
consequently skin lesions can result. The scoring scale allows
assessment of the severity of these lesions (see photographic
reference).
Assess the presence of hock burns with regard to the severity scale.
Scoring categories 0/1/2/3/4 as photographic illustration. Assess the
number of animals in each scoring category and combine the categories
for classification.
Classification
Individual
level:
a – No evidence of hock burn (score ‘0’)
b – Minimal evidence of hock burn (score ‘1’ and ‘2’)
c – Evidence of hock burn (score ‘3’ and ‘4’)
27
0
1
2
3
4
© Colas, ITAVI (Institut Technique de l‘aviculture France)
Title
Foot pad dermatitis
Scope
Animal-based measure: Broiler chicken
Sample size
Sample size according to § 5.1A.5
Method
description
Foot pad dermatitis is a contact dermatitis found on the skin of the foot,
most commonly on the central pad, but sometimes also on the toes. The
skin is turned dark by contact with litter and consequently deep skin
lesions can result. The scoring scale allows an assessment of the
severity of these lesions (see photographic reference).
Assess the presence of hock burns with regard to the severity scale,
scoring categories 0/1/2/3/4 as photographic illustration. Assess the
number of animals in each scoring category and combine the categories
for classification.
Classification
Individual
level:
a – No evidence of foot pad dermatitis (score ‘0’)
b – Minimal evidence of foot pad dermatitis (score ‘1’ and ‘2’)
c – Evidence of foot pad dermatitis (score ‘3’ and ‘4’)
0
1
2
3
4
© A Butterworth, University of Bristol
5.1A.3.2 Absence of disease
Title
On farm mortality
Scope
Management-based measure: Broiler chicken
Sample size
Animal unit
Method
description
Mortality is defined as the ‘uncontrolled’ death of animals (as distinct
from culling/euthanasia). The animals may die from, for example,
septicaemia, respiratory disease, acute infection or dehydration. Any
animal which is ‘found dead’ on the floor in the house, or out on the field
is considered a mortality.
28
The animal unit manager is asked about mortality management on the
farm based on data collected from farm records. Using house records of
animal numbers placed, minus number died (but not including those
actively culled, which are included in the measure ‘culls on farm’):
Number of animals placed in house from the hatchery (A)
Total number of animals found dead in the last flock cycle (M).
Calculate the percentage mortality using the following equation:
Percentage of mortality = (M/A ) x 100
Classification
Farm level:
Percentage of mortality on farm during the last flock cycle
Title
Culls on farm
Scope
Management-based measure: Broiler chicken
Sample size
Animal unit
Method
description
Culling is defined as birds which are actively and humanely killed by the
animal unit manager for disease control purposes, or for lameness,
sickness or disease. These are known as ‘culls’.
The animal unit manager is asked about mortality management on the
farm based on data collected from farm records.
Using house records of bird numbers placed, minus those actively
culled (but not including those found dead, which are included in the
measure ‘on farm mortality ’):
Number of birds placed in house from hatchery (A)
Total number of birds which were actively culled (but not including those
which died without being culled) during the flock cycle (C)
Calculate the percentage culled using the following equation.
Percentage of culling = (C/A ) x100
Classification
Percentage
culling
5.1A.3.3 Absence of pain induced by management procedures
This criterion is not applied in this situation.
5.1A.4 Appropriate behaviour
5.1A.4.1 Expression of social behaviours
As yet, no measure is developed for this criterion.
5.1A.4.2 Expression of other behaviours
Title
Cover on the range
Scope
Animal-based measure: Broiler chicken
Sample size
Sample size according to§ 5.1A.5
Method
description
Note that this measure is applicable to free range or extensive systems
only. If no free range area is present this measure is not applicable (and
will be recorded as 0%).
Cover on the range can be vegetation which the birds can use for cover
(e.g. deep grass, trees, maize) or manmade shelters (e.g. tents, roofs,
elevated camouflage nets, but not closed poultry houses). Cover offers
environmental variation to the birds and protection from aerial threats
and predators which are considered a restriction to birds’ use of the
29
range in some outdoor systems.
Examine the free range area and estimate the percentage of free range
area that is covered by trees, bushes, or artificial shelters.
Estimate the proportion of the range which is covered – stand where the
entire range is visible, or ensure that the entire range is observed.
Calculate for 3 houses if there are multiple houses on the site. If houses
share an area of range without fences, then calculate for a ‘combined
flock’ if this is possible.
Classification
Flock level:
Estimated percentage of covered range
Title
Free range
Scope
Animal-based measure: Broiler chicken
Sample size
Sample size according to § 5.1A.5
Method
description
Note that this measure is applicable to free range or extensive systems
only. If no free range area is present this measure is not applicable (and
will be recorded as 0%).
This measure is an indicator of both the birds’ ability to choose the
environment in which it ranges, and also the suitability of the
environment for birds.
The proportion of birds using the range is taken as an estimate of the
entire percentage of the flock seen outside of the house.
Count (an approximation) the number of birds visible using the range
from one house (if multiple houses share the range, this may be more
complex). Stand where the entire range is visible, or ensure that the
entire range is observed. Calculate for 3 houses if there are multiple
houses on the site. If houses share an area of range without fences,
then calculate for a ‘combined flock’ if this is possible.
Calculate the percentage of the entire flock that uses the range at the
time of your visit according to the following method, from records of the
known number of birds in each area;
Percentage of birds using range = (Estimated number observed on
range / total placed excluding those lost to mortality or thinning) x 100
Classification
Flock level:
Estimated percentage of birds outdoors
5.1A.4.3 Good human–animal relationship
Title
Avoidance Distance Test (ADT)
Scope
Animal-based measure: Broiler chicken
Sample size
Sample size according to § 5.1A.5
Method
description
The assessor approaches a group of at least 3 birds in the litter area,
squats for 10 seconds and then counts the number of birds at arm’s
length (i.e. within 1 m of the observer). Every attempt to approach a
group of birds is considered as a trial, even if all birds from the group
withdraw from the approaching or squatting assessor.
Repeat the trial 21 times. Carry out the trial at a number of different
locations around the house to avoid repeat scoring of birds. Record the
number of birds within arm’s length at each trial.
Classification
Individual level:
Total number of birds in reach (Tr)
30
5.1A.4.4 Positive emotional state
Title
Qualitative Behaviour Assessment (QBA)
Scope
Animal-based measure: Broiler chicken
Sample size
Animal unit (depending on number of observation points, see method
description)
Method
description
Qualitative Behaviour Assessment (QBA) considers the expressive
quality of how animals behave and interact with each other and the
environment i.e. their ‘body language’.
Select between one and eight observation points (depending on the size
and structure of the farm) that together cover the different areas of the
farm. Decide the order in which to visit these observation points, and
wait a few minutes to allow the animals to return to undisturbed
behaviour. Watch the animals that can be seen well from that point and
observe the expressive quality of their activity at group level. It is likely
that the animals will initially be disturbed, but their response to this can
be included in the assessment. Total observation time should not
exceed 20 minutes, and so the time taken at each observation point
depends on the number of points selected for a farm:
Number of observation
points
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Duration of observation
per observation point in
minutes
10 10 6.5 5 4 3.5 3 2.5
When observation at all selected points has been completed, find a
quiet spot and score the 20 descriptors using the visual analogue scale
(VAS). Please note that scoring is not done during observation, and that
only one integrative assessment is made per farm.
Each VAS is defined by its left ‘minimum and right ‘maximum’ point.
‘Minimummeans that at this point, the expressive quality indicated by
the term is entirely absent in any of the animals you have seen.
‘Maximummeans that at this point this expressive quality is dominant
across all observed animals. Note that it is possible to give more than
one term a maximum score; animals could for example be both entirely
calm and content.
To score each term, draw a line across the 125 mm scale at the
appropriate point. The measure for that term is the distance in
millimetres from the minimum point to the point where the line crosses
the scale. Do not skip any term.
Please be aware when scoring terms that start with a negative pre-fix,
such as unsure or uncomfortable, that as the score gets higher, the
meaning of the score gets more negative, not more positive.
The terms used for the QBA broiler assessment are:
Active Calm Friendly
Relaxed Content Positively occupied
Helpless Tense Scared
Comfortable Inquisitive Drowsy
31
Fearful Unsure Playful
Agitated Energetic Nervous
Confident Frustrated Distressed
Depressed Bored
Classification
Flock level:
Continuous scales for all body language parameters from minimum to
maximum.
5.1A.5 Sampling and practical information
Different numbers of animals must be sampled for different measures; these are summarized in
Table 3.
Table 3 Order for carrying out measures, sample size and time required for broiler chicken on
farm.
Measure
Sample method and/or number of birds
to sample
Approximate time
required (min)
Panting
100 birds examined visually at up to 5
locations
5
Huddling
100 birds examined visually at up to 5
locations
5
Qualitative behaviour
assessment (QBA)
Observations made at between 1 and 8
points
X
20
Avoidance distance test (ADT)
21 sample sites, 10 seconds squatting at
each site + 30 seconds movement
between sites
20
Lameness 150 birds selected from 4 locations 40
Plumage cleanliness
100 birds picked up - 10 birds from 10
locations
60 (combined total
for cleanliness,
foot pads, hock
burn)
Foot pad dermatitis
Hock burn
Litter quality 5 areas in the house
10 total
(2 minutes per
area)
Stocking density
Establish the total number of birds placed
(minus those died or culled) and divide by
the available area
5
Drinker space
Calculate number of drinkers x area per
drinker and divide by number of birds
placed
5
Dust sheet test
Position the dust test sheet at the start of
observation period and then assess at the
end
5
Cover on the range Group assessment on 3 houses (if
possible)
5
Free range Group assessment on 3 houses (if
possible)
5
On farm mortality Establish number of birds found dead (not
culled) in relation to total number placed
5
Culls on farm Establish number of birds culled in relation
to total number placed
5
32
Total
195 minutes
(3 hrs. 15 min.)
X
Qualitative assessment: observation time per spot- 5 minutes in case of 4 spots and 10 minutes
in case of 2 spots
Selecting broiler chicken for assessment on farm
Birds are assessed in the last few days before slaughter. Consistent with the slaughter
timetable and possible planning it is recommended that birds are examined within 5 days of
slaughter.
Gait scoring, panting, huddling and litter quality should be assessed in the same sites. The
assessor should look at between 4 and 6 areas in the house, selecting these areas to be well
distributed around the house and accounting for litter variability and thickness.
The birds assessed for foot pad dermatitis, cleanliness and hock burns are taken from the
same sample group.
For the hock burn, plumage cleanliness and foot pad dermatitis measures at least 100 broiler
chickens per flock should be assessed: 10 birds taken from 10 areas of the house including 2
areas located near to drinkers, 2 areas located near to feeders, 3 areas located near a wall, 3
areas located away from drinkers and feeders (resting area).
5.1B Collection of data for broiler chicken on farm (measured at slaughterhouse)
These measures are assessments of disease which are made at the slaughterhouse – but which
reflect disease conditions indicating the farm life of the bird and are not reflections of the
slaughter process. Therefore they are calculated together with the previous on farm assessment,
and jointly form the basis for the overall assessment for broiler chicken on farm.
Welfare Criteria
Measures
Good feeding
1 Absence of prolonged hunger Emaciation
2 Absence of prolonged thirst
This criterion is measured at the farm
Good housing
3 Comfort around resting
This criterion is measured at the farm
4 Thermal comfort
This criterion is measured at the farm
5 Ease of movement
This criterion is measured at the farm
Good health
6 Absence of injuries
Breast blister, hock burn, foot pad
dermatitis
7 Absence of disease
Ascites, dehydration, septicaemia,
hepatitis, pericarditis, abscess
8
Absence of pain induced by
management procedures
This criterion is not applied in this
situation
Appropriate
behaviour
9 Expression of social behaviours
As yet, no measure is developed
10
Expression of other behaviours
This criterion is measured at the farm
11
Good human-animal
relationship
This criterion is measured at the farm
12
Positive emotional state
This criterion is measured at the farm
5.1B.1 Good feeding
5.1B.1.1 Absence of prolonged hunger
Title
Emaciation
Scope
Animal-based measure: Broiler chicken (scope according to § 5.1B.5)
Sample size
Sample size according to § 5.1B.5
Method
description
Collect information from the meat inspection team at the slaughter
house on emaciation of birds. Slaughterhouses will reject emaciated
birds as being unfit for human consumption.
33
By using data from slaughterhouse rejections it will be possible to
determine how many birds were rejected for emaciation (E) from the
total number slaughtered from the flock (n). Classify emaciation
according to the following calculation.
Emaciation percentage = (Number emaciated rejected (E) / Total
number slaughtered (n)) X100%
Classification
Flock level:
Percentage of emaciated birds
5.1B.1.2 Absence of prolonged thirst
This criterion is assessed at the farm (see §5.1A).
5.1B.2 Good housing
5.1B.2.1 Comfort around resting
This criterion is assessed at the farm (see §5.1A).
5.1B.2.2 Thermal comfort
This criterion is assessed at the farm (see §5.1A).
5.1B.2.3 Ease of movement
This criterion is assessed at the farm (see §5.1A).
5.1B.3 Good health
5.1B.3.1 Absence of injuries
Title
Breast blister
Scope
Animal-based measure: Broiler chicken (scope according to § 5.1B.5)
Sample size
Sample size according to § 5.1B.5
Method
description
Breast blisters are caused by dermatitis of the skin overlying the keel
(the central part of the breast area). The skin is softened and sometimes
discoloured and may be infected and ‘sticky,’ or show as a raised
blister.
Observe birds on the line for 5 to 10 minutes. Doing so will provide a
sample of n (line speed birds per minute (ls) x number of minutes (t)).
Record number of birds passing per minute (line speed birds/min (ls)).
Subsequently observe the birds where the breast is clearly visible after
plucking. Count number of birds with breast blister lesions (‘b’).
0 No evidence of breast blister
1 Evidence of breast blister
To classify use the calculation below, in which t = period of observation
(minutes), b = number of birds with breast blister lesion, ls = line speed
(birds per minute) and n = number of birds observed in total (t x ls).
Percentage of birds with breast blister = (b / n) x 100%
Classification
Individual level:
Percentage of birds with breast blister
34
0
No breast blister
1
Breast blister
Breast blister
before
incision
Breast blister
after incision
© A Butterworth, University of Bristol
Title
Hock burn
Scope
Animal-based measure: Broiler chicken (scope according to § 5.1B.5)
Sample size
Sample size according to § 5.1B.5
Method
description
Hock burn is a contact dermatitis found on the skin of the caudal (back)
part of the hock joint. The skin is turned dark by contact with litter and
consequently skin lesions can result. The scoring scale allows
assessment of the severity of these lesions.
During three separate recording periods of five minutes, score a
proportion of the birds passing the observation point - this will provide a
sample of n (line speed birds per minute (ls) x number of minutes (t)).
Observe the birds where the hocks are clearly visible after plucking.
Record number of birds passing per minute. Count number of birds with
hock lesions (1/2/3/4) use the scoring category in photographic
reference.
To classify use calculation below, in which t = period of observation
(minutes), H 0/1/2/3/4 = number of birds with hock burn lesion, ls = line
speed (birds per minute) and n = number of birds observed in total (t x
ls).
Percentage of birds with hock burn in each category = (H(0), H(1) etc…
/ n ) x 100%.
Assess the number of animals in each scoring category and combine
the categories for classification.
Classification
Individual
level
:
a – No evidence of hock burn (score ‘0’)
b – Minimal evidence of hock burn (score ‘1’ and ‘2’)
c – Evidence of hock burn (score ‘3’ and ‘4’)
35
a
b
b
c
c
© A Butterworth, University of Bristol
Title
F
oot pad dermatitis
Scope
Animal-based measure: Broiler chicken at slaughter (scope according to
§ 5.1B.5)
Sample size
Sample size according to § 5.1B.5
Method
description
Foot pad dermatitis is a contact dermatitis found on the skin of the foot,
most commonly on the central pad, but sometimes also on the toes. The
skin is turned dark by contact with litter and consequently deep skin
lesions can result. The scoring scale allows an assessment of the
severity of these lesions.