CZAAWE Resource Article

The Contribution of Broiler Chicken Welfare Certification at Farm Level to Enhancing Overall Animal Welfare: The Case of Brazil
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
2015
Authors 
Publication/Journal 
Journal of Agricultural & Environmental Ethics
ISBN 
1187-7863
Abstract 
The intensification of farm animal welfare debate has led to an increasing number of certification schemes covering this issue; however, there are concerns about the contribution of these schemes in improving welfare. The aims of this study were to identify certification schemes for broiler chicken welfare at farm level in Brazil, to investigate the extent of nutritional, environmental, health and behavioral indicators within the schemes and to analyze the content of scheme and the capacity to promote continuous improvement on certified farms. GLOBALG.A.P.(A (R)) and Certified Humane(A (R)) were the only schemes observed, corresponding to 2.1 % of broiler chicken farms in Brazil. Environmental and health indicators were in greater number, and the requirements classified as behavioral indicator were commonly related to the resolution of low levels of animal welfare. Both schemes were in accordance with the European Food Safety Authority recommendations for farmer training, birds and buildings inspection, temperature control, air and litter quality, stocking density and lighting. The selection of breeds and the use of animal-based indicators needs to be improved, as well the inclusion animal welfare objectives and management review as part of continuous improvement. Welfare certification is a potential market to be developed in Brazil. Overall, assessed schemes may potentially enhance animal welfare at farm level by including new concepts and practices. It is desirable to increase the number of certified farms in Brazil and that certification schemes be critically analyzed on a regular basis regarding their content to meet new demands and to include updates from scientific research.