AVT session 1: The Principles of Outbreak Response

This is the first of a series of 6 presentations on the subject of Emergency Response to an outbreak of Avian Influenza.

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AVT session 2: Depopulation Strategies

This second presentation of a series of 6 AVT presentation on Emergency Response to outbreaks of Avian Influenza focuses on depopulation strategies, rapid response management, culling, storage, transportation, composting and disposal of carcasses.

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AVT session 3: Occupational Health & Safety

This third presentation of a series of 6 AVT presentations on Occupational Health & Safety risks related to outbreaks of Avian Influenza.

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AVT session 4: Cleaning, Disinfection & Biosecurity

This fourth presentation of a series of 6 AVT presentations on Cleaning, Disinfection & Biosecurity risks related to outbreaks of Avian Influenza.

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AVT session 5: Applying the Anoxia Technique

This fifth presentation of a series of 6 AVT presentations on Applying the Anoxia technique within the poultry industry.

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AVT session 6: The science behind the Anoxia technique

This sixth presentation of a series of 6 AVT presentations on the science behind the Anoxia technique.

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Canadian code of practice for the care and handling of poultry

There is an increasing awareness that currently accepted moral standards of our society call for the prevention of any avoidable suffering. Domestication and artificial selection have made farm animals dependent on humans.

Consequently, according to the existing principles of ethics, humans must accept this dependence as a commitment for humane conduct toward domestic animals in all stages of their life.

Welfare codes like this Canadian Code of Practice are intended to encourage livestock producers, stock-keepers, handlers, transporters, and processors to adopt the highest standards of animal husbandry and handling.

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Depopulation options as welfare indicator

In this paper conventional cages are compared to furnished cages, non-cage systems, and outdoor systems. It appears that no single housing system is ideal from a hen welfare perspective. Although environmental complexity increases behavioral opportunities, it also introduces difficulties in terms of disease and pest control.

One specific circumstance has not been taken into consideration in this paper: how to depopulate the hens in case of an outbreak situation. Emergency control is not an economic parameter to choose a specific production system, but comparing a production system with or without cages, it is clear that it is much easier to depopulate chickens in a system without cages. Without a proper technique to cull the animals in a animal welfare friendly way and to transport the carcasses out of the house mechanically, the chickens are killed and transported manually.

This is not only increasing the risks for humans to get infected, it also influences the risks that animals suffer unnecessary during depopulation. Handling animals during outbreak situations is mostly done by inexperienced responders who have little to no knowledge about animal welfare. Veterinary authorities in charge of the response activities have issues like effectiveness and efficiency to consider.

How to depopulate the chickens in an outbreak situation is an important welfare indicator and the producer of these systems need to be kept responsible for the technical solution.

Harm Kiezebrink
Research Fellow Queensland University /
CEO AVT Europe AB

AVT Applied Veterinary Technologies Europe AB
Address details: c/o INTRED, Södra Hamnen 2,
45142 Uddevalla, Sweden

Phone: +44 7452 272 358
E-mail: harm.kie@gmail.com

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