Scientific report updating the EFSA opinions on the welfare of broilers and broiler breeders
The EFSA AHAW panel is requested to develop several scientific opinions concerning animal based measures to assess the welfare of livestock animals. The main objective of this report is to review the broiler welfare literature to identify gaps and potential areas to strengthen and update three SCAHAW and EFSA opinions: i) The welfare of chickens kept for meat production (broilers) (SCAHAW, 2000), ii) Influence of genetic parameters on the welfare and resistance to stress of commercial broilers (EFSA, 2010), iii) Welfare aspects of the management and housing of the grand-parent and parent stocks raised and kept for breeding purposes (EFSA, 2010). The literature review was done by a group of authors and reviewers, under the supervision of an editorial team. A large number of new scientific references are quoted. Regarding the first and oldest opinion, this review presents 47 amended and new conclusions. In addition, it suggests twelve new recommendations and proposes a list of hazards. Especially the paragraphs on behavioural restriction, light, stocking density and environmental enrichment are updated with new information from a large number of new scientific references. Regarding the second opinion, nine new conclusions are proposed. Recommendations of the previous EFSA report are further supported by new information, and one new recommendation is a suggestion to further study the role of incubation conditions on welfare issues such as gait abnormalities, thermal discomfort and ascites. A limited number of new hazards are proposed. Regarding the third opinion, four new conclusions are proposed. Recommendations of the previous EFSA report are also in this case further supported by new information. One new recommendation is a suggestion to further study the impact of management on forced mating behaviour. A couple of new hazards are proposed.