Animal Welfare and Food Safety Aspects of Confining Broiler Chickens to Cages
Humane Society International, Farm Animals, 2100 L St. NW, Washington, DC 20037, USA
Humane Society of the United States, Farm Animals, 2100 L St. NW, Washington, DC 20037, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 February 2013 / Revised: 27 April 2013 / Accepted: 7 May 2013 / Published: 13 May 2013
In commercial chicken meat production, broiler chickens are usually kept on the floor in ware-house like buildings, but the use of cages is becoming more common. Confining chickens to cages is a welfare problem, as has been thoroughly demonstrated for laying hens used for egg production. Caged broiler chickens may suffer from poor bone strength due to lack of exercise, feather loss, and restriction of natural behavior. There are also potential food safety concerns associated with the use of cages. While cages may provide an economic advantage in some geographical regions of the world, the severe, inherent disadvantages should also be considered before cages are more widely adopted in the global broiler chicken industry.