You are here: HomePublicationsPractical Slaughter of PoultryIntroductionWhy Is Bird Welfare Important?

Why Is Bird Welfare Important?

ChickensWhy is the welfare of poultry during catching, handling and slaughter important? Does it really matter?

Most people believe that humans have a moral responsibility to protect animal welfare and that to deliberately cause an animal to suffer is unethical. Animal welfare is a priority for the OIE (the World Organisation for Animal Health). The OIE defines animal welfare as “how an animal is coping with the conditions in which it lives. An animal is in a good state of welfare if (as indicated by scientific evidence) it is healthy, comfortable, well nourished, safe, able to express innate behaviour, and if it is not suffering from unpleasant states such as pain, fear, and distress. Good animal welfare requires disease prevention and veterinary treatment, appropriate shelter, management, nutrition, humane handling and humane slaughter or killing.”

Many countries have protected animal welfare in law, so people also have a legal responsibility to ensure that the welfare of birds in their care is protected.

There is also an economic motive to ensure good animal welfare. Careless catching and handling will result in bruising and meat of poor quality. Poor stunning and bleeding will contribute to carcase quality problems such as burst blood vessels and broken bones. These problems will result in a lower value end product.

Moral duty, the law and economics – these are three reasons why it is important to treat birds well and avoid causing them fear or pain. 

Back to top