The National Chicken Council made changes in its animal welfare guidelines and audit checklist. That's the industry-standard program for assessing animal welfare programs and practices in broiler and broiler-breeder operations. The revisions were recommended by a task force of industry veterinarians and other experts and approved by the NCC executive committee and board of directors.
The revisions place a greater emphasis on corporate commitment to animal welfare, including a requirement that senior management must sign off on their company's animal welfare program. It also calls for each department of the company handling live animals to have a person in charge of promoting adherence to the guidelines and each department must have a disaster response and recovery plan. Also, employees must be trained and retrained every year and each company must review their program every two years.
Principles stated in the document include that poultry raised for food should be cared for in ways that prevent or minimize fear, pain, stress and suffering; guidelines for welfare should balance scientific knowledge and professional judgment with consideration of ethical and societal values; the welfare of the chickens themselves is foremost, not how humans might perceive a practice or an environment; and poultry should be treated with respect throughout their lives and provided a humane death when processed for food or when they are euthanized for any other reason.