Produtor do Bem organizes symposium on the evolution of animal welfare in broiler chicken production and launches new certification

The event “Defining the future of animal welfare in Latin America” brought together stakeholders from the entire food chain and presented current research and initiatives, in addition to promoting the exchange of ideas, experiences and solutions related to advancing animal welfare.

On April 12th and 13th, Produtor do Bem held an international symposium in São Paulo that brought together food companies, their global peers and other stakeholders. During two days, challenges and opportunities in trying to reach a new level of animal welfare in poultry production were discussed. This event which facilitated a broad exchange of experiences, came at an appropriate time, as food companies in Latin America are increasingly being scrutinized in terms of sustainable management and standards of animal welfare.

Several lectures and round tables took place as we hosted a wide range of speakers from Brazil and abroad, such as representatives from the research institute COPPEAD (UFRJ), the collaborative investor initiative the FAIRR Initiative, the collaborative non-governmental organization Eurogroup for Animals, several NGOs and the global industry coalitions GCAW (Global Coalition for Animal Welfare) and the Pet Sustainability Coalition.

In addition, a large number of food companies, mainly producers, but also restaurants and retailers were represented during the event. We had the privilege of listening to several important players in the Brazilian and international food industry, such as KFC, Grupo Pão de Açúcar (GPA), Korin, Seara, BRF, as well as the Norwegian chicken producer Norsk Kylling.

Global and local changes

It was discussed how important changes are taking place in the food sector, to a large extent driven by the sustainability and animal welfare agendas. It is increasingly common for companies to be screened for risk exposure relating to animal welfare issues, and many are developing their own guidelines that encourage suppliers to go beyond standard production.

The importance of collaboration was emphasized, where the entire food value chain comes together to identify and implement the best practices in production, which also reflects on the quality of the food. Examples of companies coming together in industry coalitions were highlighted, where common barriers to improvement can be tackled jointly. In addition, there is potential for adjacent industries, such as the food and pet food sectors, to begin working together to identify common needs and opportunities.

The theme of animal welfare has evolved from being a pioneer or niche issue to a mature topic where good practices become an integral part of company philosophy and involves the balance between the health and well-being of both animals and people. It is evident that animal welfare is no longer considered a subjective matter, but a topic founded in science and knowledge about what society expects.

Defined actions going forward

The executive director of Produtor do Bem, José Rodolfo Ciocca, commented on the importance of the topics covered during the two-day event. “We discussed very broad issues related to animal welfare, such as sustainability, investor views, commercial opportunities and corporate risks. We were able to hear how much companies have evolved in terms of welfare in recent years and we discussed how poultry farming can reach the next level”, said Ciocca.

Produtor do Bem is committed to continuing the dialogue that began during this event and coordinate work on animal welfare in an effective and collaborative way through defined actions. A working group will be created with the objective of leading the conversation on fundamental issues faced by producers, agribusiness, investors, restaurant chains and retailers, research institutes, among other players in the food chain. value. As an example, Produtor do Bem will support studies, validations and evaluations of genetic lines of chickens that are relevant to the Brazilian reality of production systems.

Leonardo Vega, responsible for strategy at Produtor do Bem, said that the initiative wants to lead the local technical-scientific development to meet the needs of the region. “Our work goes far beyond certifying good products. We want to lay the groundwork for a new level of animal welfare in Latin America, a fairer way of remunerating small and medium-sized local producers, as well as a new value proposition for agroindustries already well established in the market”, concluded Vega.