Animal welfare in commercial livestock farming practices


Feed and water housing systems

  • Animals should receive a daily diet adequate in composition, quantity, and containing appropriate nutrients to maintain good health, meet their physiological requirements, and avoid metabolic and nutritional disorders. Feed should be palatable and free of contaminants, moulds, and toxins.
  • It should be noted that food and water requirements vary with feed composition, physiological state, stage of growth, size and condition, pregnancy, lactation, exercise and activity, and climate. Access to feed should be at intervals appropriate to the physiological needs of the animals, and at least once daily.
  • Animals should have an adequate daily supply of water that is palatable and not harmful to their health.
    Food and water should be provided in such a way that all animals have an opportunity to feed or drink without undue competition and injury.
  • Animals on highly concentrated diets may also require access to bulky or high fiber feed in order to satisfy hunger. Medicated or enriched food and water should only be used on professional advice, or when it is not detrimental to animal health and welfare.
  • Reserves of food and water should be maintained to allow for interruption to supply.

Housing systems

  • Animal accommodation should be designed, constructed, and maintained to allow all animals space to stand, turn around, stretch, sit, and/or lie down comfortably at the same time. They should also allow all animals to directly interact with herd or flock mates, unless isolated for veterinary reasons.
  • Stocking densities should be low enough to prevent excessive temperatures and humidity; competition, stress, and aggression between animals, and abnormal behavior; and to enable good litter management.
  • All animals should have access to a clean and dry place. Floor litter must be kept free of excessive moisture, and be loose and friable in the case of broiler chickens. All surfaces and flooring should be non-slip, without sharp projections or edges likely to cause injury, and provide for the animal to bear weight on the entire sole of the foot.
  • Housing should be constructed of fire-resistant materials and electrical and fuel installations planned and fitted to minimize fire risk. Fire fighting equipment and smoke detectors should be installed with sufficient exits to enable evacuation of the building in an emergency. There should be sufficient drainage to protect animals from flooding. Automated feeding and watering systems should allow all animals the opportunity of access to sufficient feed and water without undue competition (including intimidation, bullying and aggression) likely to cause injury or distress.
  • Feeding and watering systems should be designed, constructed, placed, and maintained to prevent contamination or spoiling, and minimize spillage. All automated systems supplying food and water; removing waste; and controlling temperature, lighting, and ventilation should be checked and maintained regularly, and backup systems should be available in case of failure.
  • Natural or artificial light (of an intensity of at least 20 lux) should be available in all buildings for a minimum of eight hours daily, and there should be a period of darkness sufficient to allow proper rest.
    Air quality should be maintained by removing excessive heat and moisture, minimizing transmission of airborne infectious agents, preventing the build up of noxious or harmful waste gases, and to reasonably control humidity and minimize dust particles.
  • Effluent and waste should not be allowed to build up where it leads to discomfort and compromised welfare.
  • Animals should be protected from extreme temperatures or abrupt temperature fluctuations, cold draughts, and from predators, vermin, andexcessive noise.
  • Animals with access to, or living, outdoors should have access to shade and shelter and protection from predators.
Last modified: Tuesday, 5 June 2012, 7:12 AM