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Thai meat exporters underline humane farming

Thailand’s Department of Livestock Development (DLD) and meat exporters reassured that farm animals are treated by humane practices in line with internationally recognized standards.

DLD recently discussed with animal rights groups, such as Thai Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and World Animal Protection, which voiced a concern on unregulated slaughterhouses. The group also encourages Thailand, as the chair of ASEAN, to demonstrate leadership on ethical animal farming.

DLD director-general Dr. Sorravis Thaneto assured that regulations and guidelines related to humane farming, including slaughtering process, are strictly enforced by the government.

According to Thai laws, all slaughterhouses must comply with the government’s regulations related to animal welfare practices. For example, animal shall be humane slaughtered in which stunning process that render completely unconscious in order to eliminate pain, discomfort and stress prior to bleeding.

Since the Control of Animal Slaughter for the Distribution of Meat Act B.E. 2559 (2016) was announced, the department has strongly controlled animal slaughtering process. At present, 11 under-regulated abattoirs have had their licenses revoked and 59 abattoirs had their licenses suspended.

Dr. Payungsak Somyanontanakul, DVM, vice president and chairman of CP Foods’ animal welfare committee, said humane principles are put in the top priority of the company’s livestock business.

CP Foods announced a global policy on animal welfare in 2018 to ensure that all animals received appropriate and humane treatment. This policy, which is currently implemented by the company’s operation worldwide, is focusing on raising animals in alignment with the “Five Freedoms”, to avoid hunger, thirst, discomfort, disease, pain, injury, distress and express natural behavior of the animals.

“The company has been working on animal welfare practices for decades. Our broiler chicken husbandry in Thailand has adopted international standard on animal welfare since 1996,” he said.

Dr. Payungsak added that animal welfare directly contributes to food safety and quality. Five Freedoms will ensure good health and well-being of the animals, and subsequently, improve quality of the meat.

The animal welfare practices are also covered distance of transportation in every kind of animals for minimizing stress during the transportation. 100% of CP Foods’ live animals in Thailand are transported within 8 hours.

Not only animal welfare, CP Foods has distinct policy and guideline of responsible antibiotics uses for the purpose of therapy in the broiler and swine businesses. The antibiotics used in the company’s farm must not be included shared class in the “Highest Priority Critically Important Antimicrobials (HPCIAs)” group as specified by WHO in their 6th revision of the Critically Important Antimicrobials for Human Medicine.

The company also encourages the testing of local herbs as remedies for swine illnesses. Examples include the White Siris leaf, which is highlighted in the traditional knowledge of local communities for treating diarrhea in piglets, and the use of probiotics (or good bacteria) to treat diarrhea in swine.

In 2018, CP Foods’ broiler integrated business in Minburi achieved the international-level certification for chickens “Raised without Antibiotics” (RWA) from the NSF in the United States of America, verified that the operations did not use antibiotics throughout the entire of production processes, from day one of broiler chicken at hatchery, broiler chicken farm, slaughterhouse to processing plant

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