Manual catching, handling and loading of poultry prior to transportation to slaughter have been identified as major sources of stress and trauma to the birds. Whilst extensive but generalized legislation and advice pertaining to the design and maintenance of containers exist in some countries, the complex logistics and demands of modern intensive poultry production exacerbate many of the fundamental difficulties associated with animal handling. Methods of removal of laying hens from cages of current design are often associated with overt injuries including fractures and dislocations - problems addressed in new UK guidelines. Modifications of cage structure and the mechanical conveying of birds may additionally prove beneficial in this context. Depopulation of broiler houses involving manual catching at rates of up to 1500 birds per man hour may also have a negative effect on bird welfare. Current practices require significant improvement, including operative education. Mechanized broiler harvesting offers an important and viable alternative procedure and its potential benefits are discussed.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.