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NAWAC report “Misleading”

NAWAC report “Misleading”

Press release: Campaign Against Factory Farming

The NAWAC claim that broiler welfare in New Zealand is on a par with world best practice is false in both interpretation and fact, according to leading animal welfare researcher and Tauranga resident Dr. Michael Morris. Dr Morris has been researching the process behind codes of welfare in New Zealand, and will present his findings at an animal welfare conference at Auckland University in July.

Dr Morris disputes claims that broiler welfare in New Zealand is on a par with world best practice, citing a study commissioned by MAF, which found that up to 40% of heavier broiler chickens in New Zealand have visible lameness. The comparable figure for Europe is around 26%.

“Visible lameness has been associated with chronic pain in broiler chickens. The modern broiler is a genetic freak, bred to grow so quickly that their legs and heart cannot cope with their weight. As a consequence older chickens can be in constant pain for the last week of their life”.

Dr Morris cites international research showing that lameness is exacerbated by the higher stocking densities allowed in New Zealand. He does however concede that switching to free range chicken is not a complete solution. “Even free range birds come from the same top heavy breeds as intensively farmed broilers”, says Morris. “Lameness is therefore reduced in free range birds but not eliminated. The only way to negate animals suffering is to switch to slow breeding strains, or better still to avoid poultry meat”.

ENDS


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