The British Poultry Council (BPC) is set to take on the role of providing guidance for the poultry sector on its animal welfare codes, a task previously carried out by Defra.
The BPC will release its first industry generated codes on April 27, following a decision by the UK government that an industry-led approach is the best way to achieve a rapid and essential updating of the current guidelines.
While Defra’s decision extends to all livestock sectors, the new approach will start with the re-writing of guidance for the “meat chicken” industry.
“Given the need to get on with updating the guidance available to farmers and the benefits of industry-led guidance, Ministers have agreed that the process should continue on a case by case basis, beginning with the meat chicken guidance,” said Defra in a “next steps” declaration within the recently published Government response on the reform of farm animal welfare codes report.
“The British Poultry Council consulted on a meat chicken guidance in June 2013 and the intention is to now revoke the Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Livestock: Meat chickens and breeding chickens and replace it with this guidance. Defra will then begin working with other livestock sectors in a staged timetable of reform to develop species specific guidance on how to comply with farm animal welfare legislation.
“Defra will be conducting a post-implementation review to assess whether the proposed benefits have been realised and if any unforeseen costs have resulted from the reform of farm animal welfare codes. It will include an analysis of the extent to which the move from a statutory underpinning has had any impact on the weight courts accord the welfare guidance when prosecutions are being sought.”