Bem-estar animal na produção de ovos orgânicos no estado de São Paulo : percepção dos agentes produtivos e consumidores e avaliação técnica nas granjas
Schwartz, Fabíola Fernandes
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This paper deals with the perception of animal welfare (WF) on the part of consumers and agents in the organic egg production sector in the state of São Paulo. The technical conditions at poultry farms were assessed based on protocol requirements oriented towards animal welfare (Laywel, Welfare Quality®, Globalgap) and organic production (Regulatory Instruction 46/2011/Ministry of Agriculture, Cattle-Raising and Supply). Through semistructured interviews the perception and level of information on the subject, as well as the difficulties found by the production process agents were assessed. By crossing information gathered at the interviews and from WF evaluation at poultry farms, some technical gaps in organic handling and implementation of WF-enhancing practices were found. As regards the WF concept, all agents find it relevant within their own universe of comprehension and values (ethical, sanitary and economic). At poultry farms with over 5000 hens, the WF conditions are satisfactory, supported by technical assistance, good facilities and financial conditions for investment. Poultry farms with up to 2000 hens, in turn, show poor infrastructure and handling, face financial restraints and lack technical assistance, thereby putting WF at risk. It can be seen that the consistency between the agents´ views and actual WF practices is directly linked to knowledge of the subject. Where there are gaps in this knowledge the impact on WF and sanitary, nutritional and environmental weaknesses cannot be recognized or measured. Training of these production sector´s agents in concepts and practices capable of covering the full scope (ethical, sanitary and viii economic) of WF is proposed, so that the solutions and adjustments for WF problems can be discussed and implemented on a sound knowledge basis. As for consumers of organic products, the results of interviews show lack of information on WF. Also in this case, working on people´s awareness and education on the subject is suggested. This is because well informed and capable of distinguishing and valuing the various production systems, consumers and society as a whole can make differentiated consumption decisions aimed at improving husbandry methods.