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Supporting High Welfare Cage-Free Egg Production in China

by Kate Hartcher

Apr 10, 2020

HIGHLIGHTS: *This report or Guidance Memo is aimed at supporting cage-free egg production operations in China. It provides information regarding international best practices in relation to farm productivity and animal welfare in the context of the Chinese egg industry. *Collaborating and in consultation with local Chinese producers and animal welfare experts, and based on her surveys of cage-free farms in China, the author of this Guidance Memo offers practical information for key housing and management issues, including: Disease management; egg production; the provision of an appropriate environment; maintaining normal hen behaviors and avoiding mortality; humane killing on farm. *There is an emphasis on the importance in understanding, training and investment in key management aspects, particularly the prevention and control of severe feather pecking and infectious diseases in order to maintain a healthy flock and operate a successful and profitable production business. *This report shows compellingly that improving cage-free layer hen welfare in China is quite feasible and such improvement is hugely beneficial for producers and layer hens. Higher welfare cage-free systems are indeed increasing in China even though the vast majority of eggs in China are still produced in facilities with cages. *A Chinese translation of this Guidance Memo is available in late 2020.