What is welfare?
Welfare is defined as the well-being of animals. Welfare means meeting the conditions that are the prerequisite for a healthy organism. In other words, animals are bred in accordance with their natural habitats. Correct treatment of live poultry and ensuring their welfare have a considerable impact on the quality of meat and the final products.
Breeders, shippers and processors of slaughter animals are obliged to observe the legal requirements relating to the prevention of cruelty to animals. These legal requirements define the stocking density of chickens kept for meat, and the resulting obligations placed on the breeder. Each breeder of slaughter chickens is also obliged to complete a specialised training course and obtain the Certificate of Fitness for Care of Chickens Kept for Meat. Present-day breeders are also responsible for many acts leading to the maximum welfare of the animals kept – for instance light intensity, observing dark periods, CO2 and NH3 content limits, etc.
The trade company Vodňanská drůbež, a.s. is an integral part of the Agrofert holding, which endeavours – similarly to companies in West European countries – to achieve a closed circle of poultry meat production. In view of this fact, extraordinary attention is paid to our own breeds and to those from our suppliers. We do not satisfy ourselves with strict state veterinaries supervising the operation of our farms, or with the integrated permit condition that the farms are obliged to fulfil. We want more.
SUPERVISION AND AUDITS
Our farms have their own central veterinary supervision and regular visits by an expert consultant. The production plants of the company Vodňanská drůbež, a.s. conduct their own internal audit and regular checks. The holding encompasses production plants of compound feed with a central system for monitoring and controlling the feed and particular components. Staff members dealing with live animals attend regular training on the principles of prevention of cruelty to animals and on basic legal requirements.
The Agrofert company has its own veterinary surgeon at its disposal who is a full-time employee on the company’s own and other farms. Her main work activity is monitoring the health of the animals countrywide, and cooperating with veterinarians from the farms. She collects all materials, such as laboratory analyses, veterinarian reports etc., thus functioning as a central veterinary inspector.
The company pays considerable attention to checking the processing procedures. The operators of the food-processing plants admit animals into the slaughtering premises only on condition that they have received information relevant to food safety – information about the food chain. This declaration contains, among others, records of the salmonella laboratory examination results, and a report of the salmonella laboratory examination conducted by an accredited laboratory is supplied along with this declaration.
PERMANENT VETERINARY CHECKS
Working in the production plants of the trade company Vodňanská drůbež, a.s., the permanent state veterinary supervision superintends the observation of the requirements for the protection of animals while unloading and slaughtering the animals. Observing the welfare principles during the entire process, ranging from transporting to slaughtering the animals, is guaranteed and superintended daily by a fully qualified person appointed for the particular production plants. Audits and checks focused on observing the welfare principles are conducted on a regular basis once a year by staffers of the Regional Veterinary Administration.