Welfare Versus Reproduction In Broiler Breeders

Welfare of broiler breeders has been questioned, in light of the severity of food restriction increasing every year, with a proportional increase in growth performances of the progeny obtained by genetic selection.[10] Physiological stress is associated with restricted feeding on the one hand and the excessive body weight for ad libitum-fed broiler breeders on the other hand. Both are questionable according to several welfare parameters.[11] Unrestricted animals are overweight and display several pathologies (leg breakages, ascites development, cardiac failures) leading to unnecessary suffering or death. Although severe feed restriction prevents these syndromes, thereby improving welfare, it has been said that feed restriction is cruel because animals cannot eat to satisfy their hunger. The dilemma facing the broiler breeder industry is thus a production/welfare paradox. There is a need to balance those problems inherent to excess intake against those that accompany severe feed restriction.

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