SEOUL, Jan. 24 (Korea Bizwire) — After a 2017 plagued by “pesticide eggs” and the now yearly reoccurrence of the highly pathogenic avian influenza discovered among certain poultry flocks, the government is seeking to keep this year scandal-free by adopting a series of measures, among them improving the living conditions of poultry.
The chief of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) in a meeting with prime minister Lee Nak-yeon on January 23 laid out three goals for 2018: an industry-wide transition towards improved animal welfare standards, stricter farm safety management and streamlined communication channels between consumers and manufacturers.
The MAFRA revealed it will expand the space of a chicken’s living quarters from the current 0.05㎡ to 0.075㎡ starting in July. The rapid spread of diseases such as avian influenza is attributed to the weakened immunity of birds forced to spend their lives in an enclosed space the size of one A4 sheet of paper.
Chickens susceptible to disease lead to concerned farmers overusing chemical pesticides to beef up their flock’s resistance to infection, but this can lead to egg production contaminated with hazardous chemicals, resulting in the pesticide eggs furor last year.
The MAFRA stated that new egg-producing farms will only be granted business licenses after they satisfy the new enlarged living space requirements.
The MAFRA also forecast revisions to laws pertaining to animal welfare that will touch on permissible ammonia concentration levels in poultry farm buildings, lighting, a ban on forced molting and others. The core tenets of the animal welfare standards will eventually be transported into other livestock husbandry industries.
By 2022, the government will support the renovation of 3,000 poultry and pig farm buildings, constituting approximately one half of the entire industry.
To discourage disease transmission, poultry farms located in farming clusters will be moved or rebuilt so that they stand at least 500m apart.
The MAFRA estimates that it will have a foolproof plan for the moving and restructuring of the farm buildings by September, with the goal being to disperse farm buildings in 10 of the nation’s 15 most dense poultry farming areas.
Kevin Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)