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Impact of the separate pre-slaughter stages on broiler chicken welfare

Leonie Jacobs, Evelyne Delezie, Luc Duchateau UGent, Klara Goethals UGent and Frank Tuyttens UGent (2017) POULTRY SCIENCE. 96(2). p.266-273
abstract
Before broilers are slaughtered, several parties are involved in catching, loading, transportation and lairage. During these pre-slaughter activities, broilers are exposed to a variety of stressors. A detailed understanding of how broiler welfare is impaired during each stage could help the responsible parties to make targeted improvements. The aim of this study was to identify welfare problems occurring during the consecutive stages of commercial broiler transportation and to identify risk factors associated with the identified welfare problems. Commercial Belgian transports (n = 81) were assessed in spring (n = 14), summer (n = 33), autumn (n = 10), and winter (n = 24), and potential risk factors were recorded by the observer. Animalbased welfare indicators were scored before the start of the pre-slaughter phase as well as after the catching, transport and lairage, and slaughter stages to assess the impact of each stage. The most frequently observed welfare impairments were vent and thigh lesions, panting, wing fractures, and bruising on wings and breasts. Our results show that the impact of the pre-slaughter phase on broiler welfare is multifaceted. The overall preslaughter phase resulted in a mean weight decrease of 5.3%, a prevalence of 1.4% in leg bruising, and 3.7% in breast or wing bruising. Wing fractures occurred mainly during the catching stage: Prevalence increased from 0.1% to 1.9% (P = 0.003). A welfare comparison before and after transportation and lairage revealed that plumage had become more soiled (P = 0.003), body temperature decreased by 0.7 degrees C (P < 0.001), huddling prevalence increased by 0.5% (P = 0.008), prevalence of birds with splayed legs increased by 0.08% (P = 0.008), prevalence of supine birds decreased by 0.05% (P = 0.003), and 0.1% fewer birds with wings stuck in the crates (P = 0.010) were observed. Risk factor analyses revealed that carefully choosing the catching crew, minimizing thermal stress, reducing duration of transportation, and worker training are promising actions that may improve broiler welfare during the pre-slaughter phase.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
journalArticle (original)
publication status
published
subject
keyword
catching, transport, lairage, broiler chicken, animal-based welfare indicator, POULTRY-PROCESSING PLANTS, FEED WITHDRAWAL, BODY-TEMPERATURE, TRACT CONTENTS, TRANSPORT, WEIGHT, PREVALENCE, MORTALITY, QUALITY, LAIRAGE
journal title
POULTRY SCIENCE
Poult. Sci.
volume
96
issue
2
pages
266 - 273
Web of Science type
Article
Web of Science id
000395943800002
ISSN
0032-5791
DOI
10.3382/ps/pew361
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
A1
copyright statement
I have transferred the copyright for this publication to the publisher
id
8121209
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-8121209
date created
2016-10-19 14:28:15
date last changed
2018-01-25 10:00:18
@article{8121209,
  abstract     = {Before broilers are slaughtered, several parties are involved in catching, loading, transportation and lairage. During these pre-slaughter activities, broilers are exposed to a variety of stressors. A detailed understanding of how broiler welfare is impaired during each stage could help the responsible parties to make targeted improvements. The aim of this study was to identify welfare problems occurring during the consecutive stages of commercial broiler transportation and to identify risk factors associated with the identified welfare problems. Commercial Belgian transports (n = 81) were assessed in spring (n = 14), summer (n = 33), autumn (n = 10), and winter (n = 24), and potential risk factors were recorded by the observer. Animalbased welfare indicators were scored before the start of the pre-slaughter phase as well as after the catching, transport and lairage, and slaughter stages to assess the impact of each stage. The most frequently observed welfare impairments were vent and thigh lesions, panting, wing fractures, and bruising on wings and breasts. Our results show that the impact of the pre-slaughter phase on broiler welfare is multifaceted. The overall preslaughter phase resulted in a mean weight decrease of 5.3\%, a prevalence of 1.4\% in leg bruising, and 3.7\% in breast or wing bruising. Wing fractures occurred mainly during the catching stage: Prevalence increased from 0.1\% to 1.9\% (P = 0.003). A welfare comparison before and after transportation and lairage revealed that plumage had become more soiled (P = 0.003), body temperature decreased by 0.7 degrees C (P {\textlangle} 0.001), huddling prevalence increased by 0.5\% (P = 0.008), prevalence of birds with splayed legs increased by 0.08\% (P = 0.008), prevalence of supine birds decreased by 0.05\% (P = 0.003), and 0.1\% fewer birds with wings stuck in the crates (P = 0.010) were observed. Risk factor analyses revealed that carefully choosing the catching crew, minimizing thermal stress, reducing duration of transportation, and worker training are promising actions that may improve broiler welfare during the pre-slaughter phase.},
  author       = {Jacobs, Leonie and Delezie, Evelyne and Duchateau, Luc and Goethals, Klara and Tuyttens, Frank},
  issn         = {0032-5791},
  journal      = {POULTRY SCIENCE},
  keyword      = {catching,transport,lairage,broiler chicken,animal-based welfare indicator,POULTRY-PROCESSING PLANTS,FEED WITHDRAWAL,BODY-TEMPERATURE,TRACT CONTENTS,TRANSPORT,WEIGHT,PREVALENCE,MORTALITY,QUALITY,LAIRAGE},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {266--273},
  title        = {Impact of the separate pre-slaughter stages on broiler chicken welfare},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.3382/ps/pew361},
  volume       = {96},
  year         = {2017},
}

Chicago
Jacobs, Leonie, Evelyne Delezie, Luc Duchateau, Klara Goethals, and Frank Tuyttens. 2017. “Impact of the Separate Pre-slaughter Stages on Broiler Chicken Welfare.” Poultry Science 96 (2): 266–273.
APA
Jacobs, Leonie, Delezie, E., Duchateau, L., Goethals, K., & Tuyttens, F. (2017). Impact of the separate pre-slaughter stages on broiler chicken welfare. POULTRY SCIENCE, 96(2), 266–273.
Vancouver
1.
Jacobs L, Delezie E, Duchateau L, Goethals K, Tuyttens F. Impact of the separate pre-slaughter stages on broiler chicken welfare. POULTRY SCIENCE. 2017;96(2):266–73.
MLA
Jacobs, Leonie, Evelyne Delezie, Luc Duchateau, et al. “Impact of the Separate Pre-slaughter Stages on Broiler Chicken Welfare.” POULTRY SCIENCE 96.2 (2017): 266–273. Print.