Cobb-Vantress, Inc. recently hosted a diverse group of animal welfare experts at its global headquarters in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, to discuss the advancement of flock health and well-being.
The roundtable group — which consisted of poultry science experts from academia, animal welfare officers from global poultry companies, and Cobb leaders — focused on advancing poultry welfare awareness and excellence while balancing flock management goals and sustainable production standards in a rapidly changing world. Participants were asked to reflect and share their perspectives on four key topics: improvements in outcome-based welfare auditing methods, future trends in breed traits and genetics, innovative solutions for employee training, and practical ideas to improve welfare outcomes and daily management of broiler and breeder flocks.
Dr. Kate Barger-Weathers, director of world animal welfare at Cobb-Vantress, organized the annual welfare meeting and led a discussion about the importance of developing and implementing a comprehensive animal welfare program. She highlighted the company’s program, known as CobbCares, and the clear standards and expectations for animal handling and care that have been implemented at Cobb’s farms and hatcheries to ensure the health and well-being of the birds at each stage of development. She also reviewed the company’s extensive animal welfare training that is required for all Cobb team members — from onboarding and hands-on training for new team members, to monthly awareness training for all staff and farmers who work with live poultry, to the customized annual training modules that focus on welfare expectations and a practical application of the Five Freedoms.
“We truly care about our chickens,” said Dr. Barger-Weathers. “We are constantly striving to make improvements in animal welfare to benefit the chickens we breed, raise and produce for our global customers. We appreciate the insight and feedback that the panel of experts provided to us during this meeting so that we can advance the CobbCares program, Cobb’s focus on poultry behavior and welfare evaluations, and welfare outcomes for the global supply chain.”
Dr. Aldo Rossi, vice president of research and development at Cobb-Vantress, provided a detailed overview of the company’s selection program and methods, which include individual bird evaluation and selection based on over 50 traits — more than half of which are associated with health and welfare outcomes.
“Animal welfare is a topic that will continue to evolve as technology, equipment, understanding and poultry breeds advance in providing for the chicken of tomorrow,” added Dr. Rossi. “We’re proud to be a part of this roundtable and we look forward to continued interaction with these partners in the years to come.”
The roundtable meeting concluded with a robust discussion about additional areas that must be considered so supply chain decisions for animal welfare and sustainability are made in a comprehensive and holistic manner.
To hear from Dr. Barger-Weathers directly on this topic and to learn more about Cobb’s commitment to poultry welfare, visit https://www.cobb-vantress.com/en_US/articles/the-chicken-of-tomorrow-a-roundtable-focused-on-poultry-welfare.