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New draft code for meat chickens
The new code aims to maintain animal welfare standards.
Code recognises profession’s role in poultry welfare

An updated draft code of practice for meat chickens and meat breeding chickens has been published by Defra.

The code follows a consultation carried out last year and was presented to Parliament on Tuesday (9 January). If there are no objections, it will come into force in March 2018.

BVA president John Fishwick said: “We welcome the Government’s recognition of the vital role the veterinary profession plays in poultry welfare, with further references throughout the updated draft code to the importance of seeking veterinary advice.”

The current code exists to give owners and breeders of meat chickens guidance on how to comply with relevant welfare legislation. However, it has not been updated since 2002.

Defra says that the new code aims to provide up-to-date guidance on the current legislation, maintain animal welfare standards and reflect the latest scientific and veterinary knowledge.

John Fishwick continued: “We are particularly pleased to see the recommendation that welfare outcomes should be used to assess and monitor the ongoing welfare of the birds as part of the farm health and welfare plan, and with the signposting to the Humane Slaughter Association’s Poultry Catching and Handling Technical Note within the code.
 
“The British poultry industry already has some of the highest welfare standards in the world and the veterinary profession and poultry industry will continue to work with Defra on further enhancing animal welfare codes to reflect best industry practice.”

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New app to improve street dog welfare

News Story 1
 A new free app will support vital work in clinics caring for stray dogs around the world, experts say. Created by the University of Edinburgh, the tool allows vets to track the wellbeing of dogs going through catch-neuter-return schemes, which are common in countries with large numbers of strays.

Vets say the welfare of individual dogs can be overlooked during the process of capture, transport or surgery. The app, piloted across Asia and Africa, helps staff to monitor welfare, spot signs of distress and develop strategies to improve care. It was launched at BSAVA Congress on Friday 6 April.  

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Farm to fork traceability championed in new service

Defra has created a new information service to offer farm to fork traceability when the UK leaves the EU. The Livestock Information Service, which is set to be operational from 2019, will identify and track animal movements via electronic IDs, meaning the industry and government are better placed to respond in the event of a disease outbreak.

Environment secretary Michael Gove said: “This service will be instrumental in improving traceability and providing guarantees to consumers about the origin of their food. NFU President Minette Batters, among others, has helped lead the way on this, showing how it will drive a progressive and vibrant livestock industry once we leave the EU.”