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News Article

EFSA recommends cage-free systems to improve broiler and hen welfare

Two new scientific opinions consider husbandry systems/practices in the European Union and related welfare consequences

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published two scientific opinions on the welfare of broiler chickens and laying hens. To improve welfare, EFSA’s scientists recommend avoiding the practice of mutilation, feed restriction and the use of cages. The scientific opinions include advice on space, density of animals, lighting, dust, noise, litter and structures such as elevated platforms.

EFSA’s Panel on Animal Health and Welfare (AHAW) 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. The scientists also addressed specific questions that were brought forward by the European Citizen’s Initiative ‘End the Cage Age’.

The European Commission requested these scientific opinions in the framework of its Farm to Fork (F2F) strategy. They provide a scientific basis to support revision of the European Union’s animal welfare legislation. A legislative proposal by the Commission is expected in the second half of 2023.

Scientific Opinions:

Welfare of laying hens on farm. EFSA Journal, 2023, 21(2):7789, doi: 10.2903/j.efsa.2023.7789

Welfare of broilers on farm. EFSA Journal, 2023, 21(2):7788, doi: 10.2903/j.efsa.2023.7788

Article details

  • Date
  • 03 March 2023
  • Source
  • EFSA
  • Subject(s)
  • Veterinary medicine