Assuring the welfare of geese and turkeys this Christmas

Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Veterinary Practice

Turkeys and geese are traditionally birds of Christmas. Whilst they may be the centrepiece of the holiday season for many, it’s important to consider the animal behind the dinner. Around 250,000 geese are raised for Christmas annually in the UK – a tiny number when compared to the millions of turkeys that are reared for slaughter (Gerrie, 2012). Both geese and turkeys are intelligent birds with complex social behaviours and specific husbandry requirements. It is important to be aware of their welfare needs to ensure you’re selecting from a supplier that provides excellent care (Figure 1). Choosing a “higher-welfare” bird (ie one allowed to grow and mature naturally in comfortable, spacious conditions) ensures welfare on the farm has not been compromised (Compassion in World Farming, 2019)....

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