October 10, 2022


2022 USPOULTRY Live Production, Welfare and Biosecurity Seminar focused on improving practices




USPOULTRY's 2022 Live Production, Welfare and Biosecurity Seminar was recently held and offered attendees a wide selection of topics relevant to multiple levels of leadership across the poultry and egg value chain in the United States.


Attendees took full advantage of the opportunity to ask questions of the speakers and discuss ways to improve welfare and biosecurity.


Dr. Ben Wileman, veterinarian at Select Genetics, reminded attendees that biosecurity is not just a concern for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), but is an important tool in managing many other diseases that can affect poultry. Attendees were presented with the reality of integrated biosecurity, namely that farm-level decisions can have tremendous impact not only on the local and regional level, but internationally.


Dr. Wileman urged that biosecurity must be effective and practical at the farm level, including the need for procedures to be easy to do, easy to maintain, easy to communicate and not overly cumbersome. Another point he made was that all members of the organisation must be willing to support each other by identifying and addressing lapses in the biosecurity plan.


Jennifer Woods, animal care specialist at J. Woods Livestock Services, spoke about animal welfare audits, specifically on corrective actions in the event of an adverse finding. Woods explained that the audit's purpose is to verify fulfillment of various criteria and must accurately document observed conditions.


She also shared the benefits of auditing and defined the three basic types: first-, second-, and third-party. Woods made note of several possible corrective actions that might be appropriate in various circumstances and locations.


Chad Gregory, president of United Egg Producers, gave an update on the status of cage-free laying hens in the US. Gregory provided an overview of the relative percentage of the market that has achieved cage-free status compared to total commitments to provide cage-free eggs.


He also provided a compliance timeline in those states that have enacted cage-free laws, showing that about 27% of the US population is covered by these requirements. In order to meet these requirements, Gregory remarked that it would cost more than US$11 billion over the next three years.


Dr. Karen Christensen, senior director of animal welfare for Tyson Foods, gave a fresh perspective on bird welfare and how birds see their environment. She discussed the growing interest in broiler lighting programmes and how they affect bird welfare, noting that the birds' perception of light needs to be taken into account to provide for the best welfare outcomes.


After discussing some broiler physiology, Christensen said that there may be parts of the light spectrum that birds are sensitive to that can be used to improve welfare and productivity.


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