June 21st, 2021

Animal Welfare Benchmark Criteria for Layer Hen Standards: A Tool for Evaluating Cage-Free Standards

Egg producers worldwide are adopting cage-free egg production to meet the growing demand and requirements from food businesses, consumers and governments. Increased demand for cage-free eggs, together with a greater focus on transparency, has led to the establishment of different cage-free animal welfare standards, developed and managed by various certification schemes around the world.

Companies, the public, and egg producers themselves are now looking for ways to evaluate different standards and schemes. To guide this process, GFP’s technical team has developed the Animal Welfare Benchmark Criteria for Layer Hen Standards, which lays out ‘requirements’ and good practice ‘recommendations’ for egg production.

We developed the ‘requirements’ and ‘recommendations’ in this Benchmark by taking into consideration:

  • the animal’s physiological, behavioural and mental needs as outlined in the Five Domains Model for assessing animal welfare and Global Food Partners’ Animal Welfare Framework;
  • existing global animal welfare standards for layer hens;
  • the feasibility of meeting welfare standards in various regions of the world.

The Benchmark includes the following categories:

  • Nutrition
  • Living Environment - Indoor and Outdoor
  • Husbandry and Health
  • Euthanasia and On-farm Slaughter
  • Depopulation and Transport
  • Assessment of Compliance

Because the Benchmark will apply globally, we’ve aimed to make the requirements relevant and viable in regions around the world with differing conditions.

Public Consultation

In line with good standard setting and benchmarking practice, we’re now conducting a public stakeholder consultation to provide the opportunity for feedback on the current draft Benchmark criteria. Feedback can be provided via the following link here. We look forward to hearing from you.

Global Food Partners, Inc.

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