The number of broilers slaughtered globally is increasing. Ensuring acceptable welfare conditions for birds at the time of slaughter is paramount in meeting legislative and retailer specifications, and in producing high quality meat. There is knowledge that welfare training programs for members of the farming and red meat slaughter industry can improve animal welfare measures and product quality, however there is little evidence of the effects of welfare training in poultry processing plants. In our study, a comprehensive welfare training program was introduced to a Costa Rican and a British commercial broiler primary processing plant, both of which slaughter birds by way of neck cut post electrical water bath stunning. The effects of this program on some welfare and product quality measures were investigated, both immediately and six months post training. The welfare measures that showed significant improvements post training included; flapping at shackling, pre-stun shocks, stun parameters and effective neck cut. Product quality measures including broken wings and red pygostyles also improved, however the positive effect of training was not seen in all quality measures. Welfare training does have the potential to improve broiler welfare and product quality at slaughter, and these data could help the development and targeting of future welfare training courses and encourage the uptake of welfare training in the poultry slaughter industry.
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