On-Farm Poultry Processing: A Path to Improved Welfare and Industry Evolution

From Farm to Fork: Freshly Processed Poultry Ready to Delight Your Plate

In recent years, the poultry industry has faced growing scrutiny from consumers increasingly disconnected from agricultural practices. Addressing this disconnection and enhancing public perception are crucial for the industry’s future. Could on-farm processing be the solution?

Karen Christensen, PhD, senior director of animal welfare at Tyson Foods, believes so. Speaking at the 2023 Poultry Science Association conference, Christensen highlighted the potential of on-farm processing to revolutionize the industry. This concept involves completing the initial processing of broilers directly at the farm, eliminating the need for live transport—a practice often criticized by the public.

The benefits of on-farm processing extend beyond public perception. By reducing the stress associated with transportation, producers can significantly improve animal welfare and reduce injuries and carcass damage. Moreover, eliminating transport minimizes the risk of pathogen contamination, enhancing food safety.

Implementing on-farm processing requires rigorous adherence to hygiene and safety standards, similar to traditional processing plants. Skilled operators and ongoing training are essential to ensure efficiency and address animal welfare concerns.

One of the key advantages of on-farm processing is the ability to accurately monitor and segregate birds by size before they reach the plant. This optimization enhances processing efficiency and product quality, benefiting both producers and consumers.

Furthermore, on-farm processing presents an opportunity for innovation. Technologies such as controlled atmosphere stunning could further improve animal welfare and streamline the process. By intervening at the farm level, producers can also better control pathogens like Salmonella, enhancing overall food safety.

However, transitioning to on-farm processing requires industry-wide collaboration and dialogue. Producers, policymakers, and consumers must work together to establish robust and sustainable practices that prioritize animal welfare, food safety, and efficiency.

In conclusion, on-farm processing holds significant promise for the poultry industry. By embracing this innovative approach, producers can not only improve animal welfare and public perception but also enhance efficiency and food safety standards. It’s time to start the conversation and pave the way for a more sustainable and humane future for poultry processing.


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