WASHINGTON – The National Chicken Council (NCC) announced on July 10 its animal welfare guidelines for broilers and broiler breeders have been certified by the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization, an animal welfare training and certification company for the meat and poultry industry. According to NCC, the process began in 1999, when the NCC Animal Welfare Guidelines and Audit Checklist was developed and periodically revised over the course of the past 19 years to address all phases of chicken production, from the farm to the processing plant. Broiler guidelines and broiler breeder guidelines were last modified in 2017. The 2018 update of NCC’s Animal Welfare Guidelines were enhanced to include objective and actionable guidelines relating to bird behavior, recordkeeping and oversight of birds on the farm and in hatcheries, provisions for birds that are unfit for transport and more.

Ashley Peterson, Ph.D., NCC’s senior vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs said, “The people, families, and companies involved in raising broilers – chickens raised for meat – share the public’s concern.  With this certification, consumers and customers can feel confident that when buying and eating chicken, the birds were well cared for and treated humanely.”

The guidelines generally address specific practices including allowing adequate space for them to behave normally, including dust bathing, eating, drinking and preening. Guidelines for stocking densities are also part of the guidelines and are determined by type of facility and bird sizes.

“Our mission at PAACO is to promote animal welfare through auditor training and audit certification,” said Collette Kaster, executive director. “We are very pleased with the inclusion of many of the review panel and PAACO’s recommendations into this revision, and as a result the guidelines are stronger than before and will facilitate more rigorous audits in the future.”