The European Union (EU) Broiler Directive (2007/43/EC) is unique amongst current EU Directives, which address animal welfare, in that it uses outcome data collected at abattoirs and on farm to monitor on-farm broiler welfare and vary the maximum permitted stocking density on farm. In this study, we describe how, by bringing together personnel from the competent authorities in 22 member states (MSs) who have responsibility for implementing the Directive, and engaging in exchange of information and technical methods regarding the Broiler Directive, it has been possible to identify differences in approach with regard to ‘what data is being collected, and by whom’ across EU MSs. Online questionnaires and workshop exercises enabled us to identify priority areas for knowledge transfer and training. For example, foot pad dermatitis, hock burn, dead on arrival and total rejections (birds rejected as unfit for human consumption by the meat inspection staff at slaughter) were identified by the MSs as measures of medium-to-low priority in terms of knowledge transfer because there are assessment methods for these conditions that are already well accepted by competent authorities. On the other hand, breast lesions, cellulitis, emaciation, joint lesions, respiratory problems, scratches, wing fractures and a number of environmental measures were identified as having high priority in terms of knowledge transfer. The study identified that there is significant variability in the stage of implementation between MSs, and responses from the participating MSs indicated that sharing of guidance and technical information between MSs may be of value in the future set-up process for those MSs engaged in implementation of the Directive.
- broiler chicken