The Greater Accra Director of Veterinary Services, Dr. Joseph Kofi Abuh wants the adoption of cage-free farming in the poultry industry.
He notes the caging system is detrimental to the growth and production of poultry.
“The menace caused by cages is unheard of as the bearers of the pain cannot voice out their frustration and discomfort. Caged systems are extremely restrictive and painful for hens, keeping them from performing natural behaviors, and subjecting them to injuries from close confinement.
“The solution to this problem is cage-free farming, which is indigenous to the Ghanaian community. Cage-free farming is not suggestive of adopting any system from western countries, as the Ghanaian ways of raising chickens like open backyard farming, free range, and deep litter are effective cage-free methods to raise laying hens,” he said.
He said this at a poultry workshop organized by the Animal Welfare League in Accra.
Cage-free eggs, especially those from free-range and organic systems, have been shown to have some nutritional benefits compared to caged eggs.
In a study conducted in the Accra metropolis area of Ghana, 47.6 % of survey respondents preferred free-range eggs over eggs from hens in confined conditions.
The workshop was under the theme: “Improving poultry welfare and productivity in Ghana.”
He notes cage-free farming has the ability to even lessen antimicrobial resistance.
“Consumers are generally concerned regarding the use of antibiotics in livestock farming, perceiving a human health risk. An estimated 66% of global antibiotics are used on livestock, and higher welfare farming systems have been shown to be associated with reduced use of antibiotics.
“Higher welfare farming such as cage-free farming has been heralded as one of the ways to mitigate the ongoing antibiotic resistance,” he said.
Dr. Abuh revealed that the Government has paid compensation to farmers that suffered losses from the Avian Influenza outbreak from 2015 to 2021 and plans are far ahead for the payment of compensation to farmers affected by the same disease in the 2022 outbreak.
Prof Benjamin Emikpe, the Dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine – KNUST shared how poultry farmers could increase their productivity while maintaining higher welfare standards. Prof. Emikpe also told farmers how he has used antibiotics once in two years of production at his farm.
At the end of the workshop, 21 poultry farmers signed onto the National Cage-Free Farmers Network committing close to 40,000 laying hens to a life free of the caged system.
Two farmers using the caged system also signed up to transition to a cage-free system.
President of Animal Welfare League, Daniel Abiliba congratulated the farmers for taking the bold step. He called on the government to make a policy banning battery cages in the country.
About Animal Welfare League Ghana
Animal Welfare League (AWL Ghana) is a registered nonprofit organization that seeks to promote better animal welfare practices in our communities.
The organization is working with the government, corporations, universities, basic schools, and farmers to improve the welfare of animals in the country. Previously, the organization’s work on basic school education on animal welfare and free pet vaccinations was recommended and published on the WHO website.
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