Contribution of animal feed to sustainability, health and well-being of poultry production.

Animal food is the first link in the food chain. – Article published in the December issue of the magazine Aviam,

elena masso sagues
Veterinary Medicine, Technical Department of the Spanish Mixed Animal Food Manufacturers Confederation (CESFAC)

Animal feed is the first link of the food chain and is essential to guarantee animal health and food safety. Characterized by flexibility, the industry has been researching and innovating for years to adapt to new demands and concerns related to the health, welfare and sustainability of livestock production. In this sense, various nutrition management strategies have been described that contribute to achieving the objectives of improving the health status of poultry farms, reducing the use of antimicrobials, improving animal welfare and reducing the environmental impact of production .

Keywords: Animal feed, sustainability, health, welfare.

Contribution of animal feed to the health, welfare and sustainability of poultry production systems.

Animal feed represents the first link of the food chain production and is an essential element to guarantee animal health and food safety. With its proven resilience, the industry has spent years working in research and innovation to adapt to new demands and concerns related to the health, welfare and sustainability of livestock production. In this sense, various nutrition management strategies have been developed that contribute to achieving the following objectives: improving poultry health status, reducing the use of antimicrobials, protecting animal welfare and reducing the environmental impact of intensive systems. to do.

Keywords: Fodder, stability, health, welfare.

Animal Food

Animal feed represents more than 65% of the production costs of animal production farms (GO INPULSE, 2022), which implies the need to determine nutritional requirements and maximize nutrient supply to achieve greater efficiency. Similarly, diets should be formulated taking into account both the nutritional requirements of each animal species and the productive stage and their health status, to prevent nutritional deficiencies having a significant impact on the health, immunity and welfare of the animals . , New demands regarding sustainability and reduction in the use of antimicrobials are marking a shift in the nutritional management of diets towards the use of ingredients that contribute to improving the digestive health of animals and preventing infections.

The Spanish animal feed sector is not only the leader in feed production in the EU, but also in exports worldwide (CESFAC, 2023). The feed industry is part of a series of sectors that contribute to guaranteeing a safe and quality food supply (GO INPULSE, 2022). From this position, the animal feed sector works every day to improve food safety, increase knowledge about the nutritional needs of animals and acquire the tools to achieve the objectives set at regulatory and scientific level. An example of this is the new publication from the European Federation of Compound Animal Feed Manufacturers (FEFAC) on improved animal feeding strategies, developed in collaboration with companies to support the transition towards more sustainable and circular livestock and aquaculture production. The Animal Nutrition Committee and its member associations participate in FEFAC.

Therefore, the traditional objective of maximizing animal growth and production in the shortest possible time is being displaced by new animal feeding strategies aimed at improving digestive health, immunity and animal welfare. At the same time, sustainability is gaining more importance, becoming a strategic and priority objective for companies, which is why it is starting to be integrated into operations at various levels, from the supply of raw materials to workers with a low carbon footprint. It is done. .The purpose of producing feed is to reduce emissions from the animals that ingest them.

farm to fork strategy

The European Commission’s Farm to Fork strategy is part of the European Green Deal and has as its main objective the transition towards a sustainable food system, from production to consumption, reducing the environmental footprint of food systems, increasing their resilience in the face of crises. Strengthening is included. And continue to ensure access to healthy and affordable food for future generations.

Among the specific objectives defined by the Farm to Fork strategy, the following are prominent:

  1. Reduce the use and exposure to chemical pesticides by 50% and reduce the use of the most dangerous pesticides by 50%,
  2. Reduces nutrient loss by at least 50% without impairing soil fertility, thus reducing fertilizer use by at least 20%
  3. Reduce sales of antiseptics for farm and aquaculture animals by 50%, and
  4. Ensure that at least 25% of the EU’s agricultural land is dedicated to organic farming and that organic aquaculture is significantly increased.

To meet the objectives defined in the strategy, prepare proposals to review existing legislation on animal welfare (in the breeding, transport and slaughter of animals), and to review the regulation on feed additives to reduce the environmental impact of livestock farming. Have been done. and creating a sustainable food labeling framework among others.

This article is published in issue 8 (December 2023) Aviam, Subscribe here to get full access to this and other magazine content.


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