Sub-Saharan African countries should adopt poultry production systems that are carbon neutral and less reliant on industrial chemicals in order to tame the climate crisis and avert the spread of superbugs, campaigners said on Tuesday.
Tennyson Williams, director for Africa at the World Animal Protection (WAP), an international animal welfare lobby, stressed that greening poultry value chains will unleash ecological and health benefits to the continent.
“The climate crisis is a reality for the continent, and the poultry industry should take bold steps to be part of the solution by upholding standards that protect nature and human health,” Williams said.
He spoke in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi during the launch of WAP’s The Pecking Order 2022 report, which assesses iconic fast-food companies in relation to adherence to standards that advance the safety of poultry value chains.
The report, in its fourth edition, assesses whether fast-food restaurants with a global footprint were adhering to poultry welfare standards like humane slaughter, stocking densities, avoidance of caging, and adoption of slow-growing breeds.
Williams said the industry had an obligation to promote environmental sustainability in poultry value chains across Africa, to aid the continent’s quest for a climate-resilient and healthy future for its population.
Victor Yamo, farming campaigns manager at the WAP, stressed that shifting from intensive to organic poultry production systems will boost planetary health besides averting the spread of disease-causing pathogens.
Yamo said African countries should enforce legislation on promoting high-welfare standards in poultry farming, adding that negative impacts of poor chicken husbandry include the spread of superbugs and water contamination.
The fifth edition of the United Nations Environmental Assembly, held in Nairobi from Feb. 28 to March 2, 2022, passed a landmark resolution that underscored the role of animal welfare in advancing the health of ecosystems.
Yamo said carbon and chemicals-free poultry value chains will help African countries tackle the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance in addition to lifestyle diseases like obesity.