Reference : Beak Trimming
Scientific journals : Book review
Life sciences : Veterinary medicine & animal health
Beak Trimming
Marlier, Didier mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Département clinique des animaux de compagnie et des équidés > Médecine des oiseaux, des lagomorphes et des rongeurs >]
Veterinary Journal
Yes (verified by ORBi)
[en] To trim or not to trim beaks? It is always a good time to raise this difficult question. Indeed, since the release of the Brambell Committee report1 on welfare in the UK in 1965, discussion on the welfare of beak-trimmed birds has continued unabated. The aim of this new book (with its 15 contributors) is not, of course, to close the debate but merely to consolidate the huge amount of scientific information available on methods welfare and alternatives to beak-trimming. In the Preface, it is stated that the book will be of interest to welfare groups, policy makers, scientists, industry leaders and students of poultry science who wish to acquaint themselves with the welfare issues associated with beak-trimming and the potential solutions for reducing the need to beak-trim poultry. This goal is achieved to the extent that most of the information (although sometimes rather concisely) is presented in the eight chapters of this 174 page book.

The first chapter describes the methods and reasons for beak-trimming. Chapter 2 raises the ethical question of beak-trimming and gives some of the pros and cons of the arguments. Pain and nerve injuries induced by beak-trimming are presented in Chapters 3–5 and the production responses (improved liveability, plumage quality and feed efficiency during egg laying) of beak-trimmed birds are assessed in Chapter 6 with bird health and handling issues associated with beak-trimming in Chapter 7. The last chapter is devoted to alternatives to beak-trimming. It includes environmental enrichment methods; a consideration of the genetics of feather pecking and cannibalism; dietary recommendations to reduce cannibalism in chickens and laying hens; manipulation of light intensities and colour to modify behaviour; management of body weight; application of abrasive strips in the feed trough to blunt the tips of the beaks of laying hens and the use of fitted devices and stock wound spray in injured birds to prevent further pecking. Among all these alternatives, the genetic solution might well prove to be the most sustainable, efficacious and cost effective.

Overall, however, throughout the book this reviewer had the feeling, rightly or wrongly, that it was mostly written by opponents of beak-trimming and that arguments of the defence were sometimes omitted.
Researchers ; Professionals

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