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Broiler breeders are relatively valuable birds and the incentive to ensure they receive careful husbandry is strong simply on commercial grounds. However, it is appropriate to set out the areas where attention should be focused. The Report deals with breeder stock throughout the rearing and laying phases and addresses in detail the major welfare dilemma of feed control. The experience of ‘hunger’ is not in itself detrimental to the bird, but it is the extent and duration that can cause it to become a welfare problem.
The UK is an established world leader in the production of pedigree breeder stock. Nonetheless, breeding birds are kept in many other countries across Europe and we look to government to urge its EU partners to adopt welfare standards similar to ours.