The campaign to ban battery cages in poultry farming is fast gaining momentum as more farmers across the country sign on to the use of free cages in rearing domestic avians.
At a recent workshop in Koforidua, 31 out of 45 poultry farmers in the Eastern region signed up to the national cage-free farmers network in adopting improved welfare standards by keeping chickens out of battery cages.
The advocacy is an initiative of the Animal Welfare League formed by a team of veterinarians from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).
The cage-free project aims at ending the abuse of layer and broiler chickens in ‘cruel’ conventional cages.
It also seeks to make Ghana the first African country to implement a total cage-free poultry system.
Presently, 62 farmers in the Greater Accra and Ashanti regions are members of the network. Two of the signatories vowed to ban the use of battery cages.
In order to deliver high-welfare products to consumers and corporations, Dr Daniel Abiliba, Director of the Animal Welfare League, dismissed myths about the association of cage-free systems.
“Some farmers think the popularly practiced deep litter system yields lower production. But that’s not really the case. I call on all the farmers to abandon battery cages as a housing system for the animals,” he said.
He invited farmers to the national cage-free farmers network and directory, which is working with industry and research players to deliver high-welfare products to consumers and corporations.
Meanwhile, the President of the Ghana National Association of Poultry Farmers, Victor Oppong Agyei, has bemoaned the current state of the country’s poultry industry.
With the industry faced with economic and health challenges, he urged farmers to consider the welfare of their birds as a tool in their productivity.
A recent survey in the Accra metropolis showed nearly 50% of respondents indicated an interest in free-range eggs over eggs produced from hens under constricted conditions.
The network currently has an estimated annual egg production of over 10 million eggs.
The group currently supplies free-range eggs to corporate institutions both internationally and locally including hospitality agencies and manufacturing companies.
About Animal Welfare League
The league is an animal advocacy organisation dedicated to improving the welfare of animals in Ghana. The non-profit organisation is working with companies, stakeholders, communities and governments to promote animal welfare for a better environment, for animal and human health.
Previously, the organisation’s work on basic school education on animal welfare and free pet vaccinations was recommended and published on the WHO website.