Chicken welfare at catching

The ways in which chickens are caught can cause injuries and millions of chickens arrive dead at the slaughterhouse each year (dead-on-arrival [DOA]: 0.1% to 0.6%).

We conducted a systematic review to better understand the welfare impacts of various catching methods for laying hens and broiler chickens. Papers were screened against clear inclusion and exclusion criteria. Twenty-two papers met the criteria and were included, grouped around three themes. Each paper was assessed for the risk of possible bias in six domains (no randomization, no blinding of assessors or data analysts, not reporting missing data, selective reporting, or other types of bias) and three levels (low risk; some concerns; high risk), as well as an overall bias judgement.

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Study to support the evaluation of the European Union strategy for the protection and welfare of animals 2012-2015

Cerebrus Associates has recently worked in partnership with ICF to conduct a study to support the evaluation of the European Union strategy for the protection and welfare of animals (2012-2015)Our work evaluated whether the Strategy contributed to its objectives in an effective and efficient way by considering these evaluation criteria in line with the Better Regulation Guidelines: relevance, coherence, effectiveness, efficiency, and EU added Value. The work was commissioned by the European Commission (Directorate General for Health and Food Safety, DG SANTE).

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Distraction and the inhibition of responses for food reward after satiation

Multi-tasking with electronic devices, such as our smart phones or computers, has become common behavior in everyday life, and increasingly occurs during consumption of food. Such “distracted eating” has been shown to cause overeating, is associated with increased BMI, and with increased choices of palatable foods. However, it is unclear how distraction increases food intake. This study aimed to assess how distraction affects motivated, goal-directed responses for food reward after satiation.

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Environmental enrichment for pigs

The welfare of farmed pigs can be improved by modifying their environment with bedding, substrates, or objects, so that they can perform more of their pig-specific behaviours. However, scientific knowledge is not necessarily reaching farms.

A recent review published by Heleen van de Weerd and Sarah Ison examines why the industry has not yet fully embraced the benefits of effective enrichment. Read more “Environmental enrichment for pigs”

EU report on alternatives to pig castration

The European Declaration on Alternatives to Surgical Castration of Pigs works towards ending the practice of castration. The voluntary Declaration was signed by meat industry, retailers, scientists, veterinarians and animal welfare NGOs in 2010. Following the Declaration, the European Commission commissioned a study on ‘Establishing best practices on the production, the processing and the marketing of meat from uncastrated pigs or pigs vaccinated against boar taint’. A team of experts, including Dr Heleen van de Weerd, conducted research in a selection of (representative) EU Member States and described the different practices utilised by the industry. The report can be downloaded here.

Read more “EU report on alternatives to pig castration”