BSAS Annual Conference 2014

BSAS Annual Conference 2014 brought together more than 500 researchers, students, vets, policy-makers and industry representatives to share knowledge on newest technology and developments in animal science. The conference, held at the University of Nottingham Monday 28 to Wednesday 30 April, focused on the challenges animal science is facing due to growing world population. Elena Lazutkaite, PhD student working with the interdisciplinary team on “Cultural and Scientific Perceptions of Human-Chicken interactions” Project, presented a paper on diners attitudes towards broiler chicken welfare. The paper demonstrated that consumers held similar attitudes when eating out and when shopping and that consumer concerns over chicken welfare are growing in the UK. However, consumers reported having difficulties to find food service places that source higher welfare chicken and they lack of knowledge on farm animal welfare.

The conference was organized hand in hand with the Annual Meeting of World’s Poultry Science Association. A session dedicated to injurious pecking highlighted the importance of finding viable solutions to move away from beak trimming. Researchers from Wageningen University, Netherlands proved that genetic selection can be used to reduce feather pecking in commercial housed laying hens. Other covering topics included effectiveness of enrichment items provided to laying hens, humanness of methods of three mechanical devices for killing poultry and the prevalence of Campylobacter in the UK chicken flock. Overall, in regards to chicken industry, the two-day event emphasized how much growing human population is dependent on cheap and efficiently produced chicken meat and eggs. Nonetheless, the future of chickens is obscure. Intensification and threat of pathogens raise some of the most serious challenges in the whole agriculture.

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