As part of its efforts to support the South African poultry industry, the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), through its technical committee, has developed a draft South African Standard (DSS) 1758 that focuses on the welfare of chickens.
The new standard is in line with President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement during his State of the Nation Address in February that government is committed to driving local production, growing exports and implementing regulatory reforms in the industry through the Poultry Master Plan.
This locally developed draft standard is currently at the public enquiry stage and comments close on March 22.
The SABS states that the South African poultry industry is estimated to be worth R1.7-billion yearly, with several large commercial enterprises and hundreds of local small-scale farmers making up the sector.
SABS lead administrator Jodi Scholtz says chicken is one of the most consumed proteins in South Africa and it is important that there are national specifications that guide the breeding, rearing and production practices of chicken farming, especially in commercial enterprises. “The health and welfare of chickens leads to more sustainable agricultural practices that will ultimately result in greater food quality and sustainable food security for South Africa.”
She explains that the draft standard provides guidelines for the adoption of good agricultural practices, quality management of the chicken through its life stages and is cognisant of the contribution that the poultry industry makes towards food security.
“The SABS foresees that once the standard is published, where the welfare of the chickens becomes a priority – then the risk for disease, injury, pain and suffering of the poultry reduces.”
The draft standard is a 53-page document that covers poultry production performance against breed standards, the condition of the chicken, the environment of the practice, management practices, daily care of the poultry, euthanasia, live bird sales and health controls.
The draft standard was developed by Technical Committee 1094, which is responsible for the drafting of standards regarding the welfare of all livestock.
Members of the public can review the draft standard and submit their comments on the SABS website. The SABS states that all comments will be reviewed and considered before the draft standard is published, and that the publication date of the standard will be dependent on the volume and nature of the comments.