Poultry welfare and management: WPSA Working Group Nine
The introduction of the UK Protection of Animals Act 1911 demonstrates that animal welfare has been of concern for at least a century. The matter came to the fore about 50 years ago, when the welfare of hens in battery cages became an issue. Since then poultry welfare research and the development of superior management and housing systems for poultry have been stimulated by the lobbying of animal welfare organisations along with subsequent policy decisions and legislation. WPSA WG9 was formed in 1972 to encourage scientific studies to inform the poultry welfare debate; its members have positively influenced research and development of welfare-friendly housing systems and husbandry throughout Europe. They have also been active in EU projects aimed at improving the wellbeing of poultry e.g. LayWel, EFSA Opinions and Welfare QualityR. Information derived from such projects have influenced EU Directives and national legislation on the protection and welfare of laying hens and broilers, in particular.