Commercial Level Chicken Welfare Evaluation with the Welfare Quality® Project Protocol
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Animal welfare

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Zamora Sanabria, R., Camacho Salazar, J., Castañeda Serrano, M. del P., & Elizondo Salazar, J. (2021). Commercial Level Chicken Welfare Evaluation with the Welfare Quality® Project Protocol. UNED Research Journal, 13(2), e3682.


Introduction: Measuring bird welfare under intensive commercial conditions is something complex. The type of housing, nature of the stimulus, exposure type and time, age, sex, assessment duration, and individual differences affect the results. Objective: Evaluating animal welfare under intensive conditions, in naturally ventilated and environmentally controlled sheds with the Welfare Quality® Project (2009) protocol. Methods: We evaluated 22 different commercial farms, 11 environmentally controlled sheds, and 11 naturally ventilated sheds during 2018 and 2019. The Welfare Quality® Project was implemented, modifying the principle of good health through the transect method. For each criterion, we applied different tests, which we transformed into scores using formulas provided by the spline function Welfare Quality® instrument. Results: 54% of the farms were rated as excellent and 46% of them were rated as good. We obtained the lowest scores in the bedding quality control tests, the lameness percentage, the pododermatitis percentage, and the Qualitative Behavior Assessment (QBA). We found statistically significant differences p≤0,05 between naturally ventilated open sheds and environmentally controlled sheds in bedding quality, lameness percentage, density, and absence of prolonged hunger. Conclusion: We recommend more research on fisheries management, conservation and environmental education; and greater integration of local and international research.
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