Farm animal welfare is becoming an important concern for governments, producers, and consumers worldwide. In particular, intensive confinement systems, such as battery cages and gestation crates, have been acknowledged as severely impairing to the physical comfort and expression of natural behaviors of animals. The European Union and select states in the United States have already passed bills eliminating these housing systems over the next several years. Numerous international retail and food production companies, including Burger King (North America), Smithfield Foods, and McDonald’s (Europe) are committed to gradually eliminating the use and sale of eggs and pork produced via intensive confinement systems. This trend has also influenced Brazil, where surveys already indicate that 88% of consumers believe that the treatment of farm animals needs to be improved. As a result, cage-free housing technology for commercial operations of egg-laying hens and breeding sows is proving to be a business opportunity of great potential in Brazil. Although producers may encounter obstacles when adopting the new system, most of the difficulties may be solved with certain adaptations to facilities, animal breeds, and management practices. In this article, we show that it is possible to neutralize these obstacles in a way that ensures low mortality rates, a commercial production scale, a high level of food safety, and affordable costs. Producers are thus able to adequately care for the animals, meeting consumers‘ expectations, remain competitive, and even conquer new markets.
Humane Society International, "An HSI Report: Adopting a Cage-Free Production Policy for Animal Products in Brazil" (2010). IRF. 6.