The European Commission is considering the possibility of imposing limits on certain types of chicken breeds, the body has confirmed. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)


EC considering new limits on fast-growing chicken


The European Commission is considering the possibility of imposing limits on the farming of certain types of chickens, it has confirmed.

The EC is mulling certain restrictions on chicken production, largely over animal-welfare concerns amid the rapid growth of the “broiler” breed of poultry alleged by some to result in birds with health problems.

Noting that the European Food Safety Authority had recommended that farms should be limited to having their chickens put on no more than 50 grammes per day in body weight, the EC confirmed it was looking at whether or not to implement the organisation’s suggestion.

“The Commission is considering this recommendation in its work on the revision of the animal-welfare legislation,” said Health and Food Safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides.

She added that an “impact assessment” of such a restriction is now underway, taking into account “the economic, social and environmental impact of the envisaged changes”.

Kyriakides’ response came as anxiety surrounding the welfare of certain breeds of chicken were raised in the European Union.

Writing to the EC, ID Group MEP Annika Bruna expressed concerns regarding the increasing number of chickens gaining “between 50 and 90 [grammes] per day” within the bloc’s farms.

“Fast-growing chickens contain twice as much fat as free-range chickens and less omega-3 fatty acids,” she said, adding that many of the birds raised this way suffer from health problems.

Still, while there have been concerns regarding the raising of such animals, it appears Eurocrats are leaning towards keeping regulations as they are.

According to a report by the UK’s Financial Times, initial plans dreamt up by the EC to revamp EU animal-welfare laws appear to have fallen by the wayside, as officials worried that increased bureaucracy would hurt food prices.

The EC has so far denied that it is dropping plans to tighten animal-rights laws, telling the British newspaper that it remained “committed” to implementing welfare reforms this year.