Asian chicken and duck industries will benefit from voluntary Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) poultry animal welfare guidelines proposed by The University of Queensland.
UQ Centre for Animal Welfare and Ethics Director Professor Clive Phillips said the importance of good animal husbandry practices was gaining recognition throughout the world.
“These guidelines and standards cover animal cruelty, animal welfare, biosecurity issues and husbandry practices that affect the quality of animal products, environmental issues and even nutritional issues,” he said.
He said the guidelines were designed for the ASEAN nations of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia.
“Initially the standards will be mainly used for trade within and between ASEAN partners but will have implications for trade with the European Union and globally,” Professor Philips said.
“They will be voluntary and will identify producers operating at a high level.
“Eventually it is hoped that take-up will be high, to benefit both animals and consumers, and will extend to trade with outside nations.
“While all customers demand food safety as a mandatory requirement of the food they buy, only some customers demand other standards related to the environment, animal cruelty and workers’ health and safety.”
The guidelines are for animal welfare meat chickens (broilers), layer hens and ducks.
Professor Phillips said some of the ASEAN countries had internal standards and all were signatories to the World Animal Health Organisation standards.
He said the standards proposed by UQ would provide accreditation for high quality producers.
Professor Phillips, who directed the project, said the UQ Centre for Animal Welfare and Ethics was fortunate to have the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy’s former head, Professor Peter Thornber, as lead writer and Michelle Sinclair to manage the project.