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Among the recommendations (interestingly, largely unchanged from the standards for the "Animal Care Certified" program) are 67 to 86 square inches per caged bird, beak trimming when needed, and non-feed withdrawal molts only (after January 1, 2006).
Beak trimming is permitted in laying hens without analgesia in the first 10 days of life as a 'preventative measure' to reduce the risk of cannibalism in high-density hen houses.
FF states in its standards that beak trimming "is contrary to the principles of American Humane standards.
Regular beak trimming should not be necessary, so I prefer to do any beak work, especially if it is corrective.
Animal Welfare Minister Elliot Morley praised the industry for making significant strides in improving poultry welfare and stressed he wanted to see the abolition of beak trimming as a routine practice within the industry.
We will be working closely with the industry to ensure that when the ban on beak trimming comes in, it will neither affect the welfare of the birds nor the economics of the industry,'' he said.
To date, animal welfare research has provided some behavioural and neurological evidence to inform the debate on the acceptability of routine beak trimming within the industry (see Cheng, 2006 for a recent review).
Four groups of twenty chickens had been subjected to one of 4 beak trimming methods as follows: 1) hot-blade trimming at 1 day of age, 2) infra-red beak trimming at 1 day of age, 3) hot-blade beak trimming at 10 weeks of age and 4) intact beaks.
Beak trimming is performed early in the life of commercial hens to decrease injuries caused by cannibalism, bullying and feather and vent pecking (Savory, 1995).
To study the pain associated with beak trimming and neuroma-induced changes, pain thresholds can be measured and used as an indication of neural activity.