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Open AccessArticle

Comparison of Chinese Broiler Production Systems in Economic Performance and Animal Welfare

1
Department of Agriculture Economic and Management, Shenyang Agriculture University, Shenyang 100161, China
2
Business Economics Group, Wageningen University, Hollandseweg 1, 6706 KN Wageningen, The Netherlands
3
Wellhope-De Heus Animal Nutrition B.V. Nr. 2 International Mansion 2, 9A-B, Information rd. 2, Beijing 100085, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(3), 491; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10030491
Received: 12 February 2020 / Revised: 3 March 2020 / Accepted: 10 March 2020 / Published: 15 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development and Assessment of Animal Welfare Indicators)
There are three main rearing systems for white-feathered broilers in China. They are the net floor system (NFS), the normal cage system (NCS), and the high standard cage system (HCS). This study compared the relationship between economic benefit and animal welfare between these systems. The high economic input, high output, and high profit in these three different rearing systems. The welfare scores were 778.24 ± 29.45, 691.09 ± 32.97, and 669.82 ± 22.79, respectively. As white-feathered broiler production in China has developed, from the conventional system to the latest system, both cost and economic profit have increased while the welfare score has decreased. This study explains why the level of animal welfare in China’s white-feathered broiler production is not high at present, and why breeders do not wish to improve the level of animal welfare production.
Both proper animal welfare and economic benefit are important to the broiler industry, so it is better to consider these two factors together. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between economic benefit and animal welfare in different production systems of white-feathered broilers in China. Based on the Welfare Quality Assessment (WQA) protocol for poultry, the authors compared and evaluated the results of the Welfare Quality model (WQM) and the deterministic model. The present study conducted welfare evaluations and investigations on 66 broiler chicken flocks on 52 farms in China. These flocks included three types: the net floor system (NFS), the normal cage system (NCS), and the high standard cage system (HCS). In terms of economy, the results were in line with high economic input, high output, and high profit. In terms of animal welfare assessment, the authors calculated the welfare scores per measure and the attributional WQ scores and WQ index scores of each production systems. The results showed that nine welfare measures from four welfare criteria presented different trends in the three production systems. WQ index scores were 778.24 ± 29.45, 691.09 ± 32.97, and 669.82 ± 22.79, respectively. According to Chow test results, significant differences were found between WQ index scores and total cost and profit (all p < 0.01). In conclusion, with the development of white-feathered broiler production in China, from the conventional system to the latest system, both cost and economic profit have been increased, but the welfare score has been decreased. View Full-Text
Keywords: animal welfare; broiler production system; economic performance animal welfare; broiler production system; economic performance
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Chen, Q.; W. Saatkamp, H.; Cortenbach, J.; Jin, W. Comparison of Chinese Broiler Production Systems in Economic Performance and Animal Welfare. Animals 2020, 10, 491.

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