MPESA Paybill: 30303 Account: 2045187503
Nearly 80% of the rural population consume chicken. This is because poultry, especially the indigenous chicken, are the most farmed animal in every homestead. Indigenous chicken are raised by over 80% of farmers mainly for egg and meat production therefore making poultry production a promising animal enterprise.
According to a report done by the World Animal Organization, more than 70 billion animals are farmed for food each year, two thirds in conditions that are unnatural and chicken are not spared from this. One major problem currently is the cruel treatment of these farmed animals. A significant welfare issue being violated, and becoming increasingly worse, is the cruel treatment of hens in factory farming systems. Hens are reared in environments that deny the opportunity to express their natural behaviours. They are congested, kept in cages and denied freedom to express their natural behavioural patterns and this has immense implications on their health status
Due to the high population, the health management is not well considered, and as such, rising cases of disease outbreaks are recorded. Such diseases include Newcastle Disease and Infectious bronchitis (Gumboro). Measuring hen welfare enables us to know what level is being achieved on-farm and therefore better understand what impact the resources being provided and management practices being implemented are actually having on the animal.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
The welfare of hens, on the other hand, has been violated. Approximately 75% of the poultry meat today is obtained from birds reared entirely indoors and of the 25% are not reared under controlled conditions. These small creatures are subjected to an unfilthy and unbearable environment that predisposes them to a lot of challenges.
They are reared in caged environments that restrict them a lot of freedoms that they would have otherwise experienced in their natural environments.
The places they are kept in are small making them unable to exercise, perch, flap their wings, and stretch. Hens just like other animals deserve a life worth living, they should be left to interact freely, brood and express their behaviours. In order to cover the multitude of relevant welfare aspects, different animal welfare approaches are used. To achieve this, therefore, advocacy on cage- free systems should be done so as to provide hens with more space to move freely and express their natural behaviours.
“The lower animals, like man, manifestly feel pleasure and pain, happiness and misery.”
There is a need to sensitise and educate poultry farmers on the general hen welfare standards that they should practise in their course of keeping them. When good welfare is practised the returns are usually high since the hens will be able to produce actively and be able to meet the market demands. Veterinarians, farmers and poultry experts have a responsibility in ensuring that all parameters that contribute to poor welfare are dealt with and necessary adjustments made.
Animal welfare is currently an ongoing topic that is receiving a lot of attention globally. Animal welfare assessment is a focal point that provides poultry farmers with useful information about their flocks or herds and starting points for improvement. Many poor animal welfare indicators can only be successfully tackled only if we employ proper approaches.
Like many people feel a home isn’t a home without a cat or a dog, We at Utunzi animal welfare organization are conscious about this and working hard to sensitise more people that hen welfare matters! Be kind to chickens.
“We don’t have two hearts, one for animals and one for humans ; we have one heart or we don’t have any.”
-Alphonse De Larmatine
Utunzi Animal Welfare Organization is a registered non-profit that seeks to advocate for, sensitise, empower, and train individuals and organisations on farm animal welfare based on global and regional standards. Please support our efforts by doing a donation through the following ways:
MPESA Paybil: 303030