How to assess fitness for transport of Danish broiler chicken

Publikation: KonferencebidragPosterForskningfagfællebedømt


According to the Council Regulation EC 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport, the suitability for transportation should be evaluated before translocation of animals. This evaluation is a necessity to ensure animal welfare but at the same time the evaluation present a challenge for the veterinary authorities in that transport fitness is not very well defined. The aim of this project (2013-2016) is therefore to establish knowledge about useful indicators to assess broilers suitability for transport. The objective is to develop a practical protocol which can be applied to assess the transport fitness of a flock on-farm within 24 hours prior to harvesting.
During 2015, a number of Danish broiler flocks will be visited within the last 24h before the birds are mechanically harvested and transported to slaughter at approx. 36-37 days of age. Each flock will be assessed at 3 different stages of transport: i) on-farm before harvesting, ii) after harvesting before transport, iii) after transport during lairage at the abattoir. Some post-mortem data will also be included.
On each farm, a transect walk, fear assessment and a Qualitative Behaviour Assessment (QBA) will be performed and a random sample of focal animals will be assessed clinically. Resource- and management data will be included, such as litter quality, house and flock characteristics as well as personnel background and empathy. During the mechanical harvesting, data on e.g. the speed and height of the harvester, light and noise levels, as well as the harvesting team experience and empathy will be collected. During the transport itself, the birds cannot be accessed, so resource based measures such as variations in temperature; driving and road characteristics as well as time travelled will be included. At lairage, a sample of birds will be clinically assessed prior to shackling. In addition, meat inspection data as rejections, dead on arrival (DOA) and pathology will be included. Data will be analysed for confounding and further modelled to identify risk factors for DOA and rejections. The project will conclude with recommendations for indicators that should be included in an assessment protocol performed prior to transport in order to perform an evaluation of the fitness for transport on broilers farms.
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StatusUdgivet - 2015

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