EFSA: alternatives to cages recommended to improve broiler and hen welfare
To improve the welfare of farmed broiler chickens and laying hens, EFSA’s scientists recommend avoiding the practice of mutilation, feed restriction and the use of cages. Two scientific opinions published today include advice on space, density of animals, lighting, dust, noise, litter and structures such as elevated platforms.
Our experts assessed the husbandry systems used in the European Union for broiler chickens and laying hens and identified hazards to which the birds are exposed and the associated consequences for their welfare. They described ways to assess the birds’ welfare based on animal responses and proposed ways to prevent or mitigate the negative welfare consequences that they identified. The two assessments cover the entire production cycle from breeding and raising young birds to farming broilers and laying hens. Our scientists also addressed specific questions that were brought forward by the European Citizen’s Initiative ‘End the Cage Age’.
Supporting revision of EU legislation
The European Commission requested these scientific opinions in the framework of its Farm to Fork (F2F) strategy. They provide a scientific basis to support the ongoing revision of the European Union’s animal welfare legislation. A legislative proposal by the Commission is expected in the second half of 2023.
EFSA has already published a scientific opinion on the welfare of farmed pigs, as well as five opinions on the welfare of farmed animals during transportation. Our scientists are also finalising work on assessments covering the welfare of farmed calves, dairy cattle, and ducks, geese and quail.
Save the date
EFSA is organising an online public event to present the findings of its two scientific opinions on broiler chickens and laying hens on 28 March 2023. Registration opens on 28 February. A second event dedicated to the upcoming opinions on calves, dairy cows, ducks, geese and quail will be held on 23 May 2023. More information can be found here.