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The use of animal‐based measures at slaughter for assessing the welfare of broiler chicken on farm: scientific NCPs Network exercise

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The Network of the National Contact Points for scientific support under Art 20 of Council Regulation (EC) 1099/2009 on the protection of the animals at the time of killing (scientific NCPs Network) includes nationally appointed representatives of Members States, including EFTA Countries. At the annual scientific NCPs Network meeting held in October 2021, an exercise was set up to collect information from Network members on the use of animal‐based measures (ABMs) at slaughter to assess welfare in the farms of broiler chickens. In preparation for the meeting, the participants were asked to submit an online questionnaire to collect information on the use of such ABMs in the various European countries. Among the information, the ease of use, and the relationship of the ABMs with one or more welfare consequences were collected. During the meeting, the exercise continued with discussion and further elaboration of the information submitted. Meeting participants were asked to express their opinion by voting on the reliability of post‐mortem ABMs to on‐farm welfare conditions, on feasibility of assessing the ABMs at slaughter, and on which ABMs to prioritize. The exercise was held for the assessment of ABMs during ante‐mortem and post‐mortem inspections and, as a result of this exercise, informative lists of the most promising ABMs to be used at slaughterhouses to monitor the welfare of broiler chickens in the farm were produced.

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