Breakdown in talks puts poultry welfare on the backburner

According to Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) talks aimed at securing an EU-wide Directive to protect the welfare of chickens reared for meat (broilers) have collapsed.

CWIF has reported it is 'dismayed' at the breakdown of the talks which the organisation says was caused by the refusal of France, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia to agree to the modest package of welfare reforms that were on the table.

Peter Stevenson, chief policy advisor at CIWF commented: "The collapse of these talks means that the over 5 billion broiler chickens reared each year in the EU - 850 million of which are reared annually in the UK - will remain without any legal protection on-farm. It is a scandal that meat chickens, which are by far the most numerous of Europe's farmed animals, will continue to be unprotected by the law. It is vital that these talks are revived as legislation is urgently needed to address the serious health and welfare problems faced by broiler chickens."

The CIWF is calling the breakdown a 'major lost opportunity for UK and other EU broiler farmers to set improved welfare standards and so establish UK and European chicken as a higher welfare product than chicken meat imported from outside Europe', and is urging consumers to opt for free range or organic birds while calling on supermarkets to set higher welfare standards for indoor reared chickens.