Progressive Grocer

SEP 2016

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its cachet," she says. "ese animals don't have the brain structure to feel pain as we know it, but they certainly feel stress, and their plasma cortisol levels reflect that. at's one of the many reasons we are pro-aquaculture: Farmed fish don't feel the same stress at harvest as wild species, because they are killed quickly and humanely." Grocers should start asking questions about kill method and generating that transparency now, Claudia recommends. And they need to think about this from spe- cies to species, as a one-size-fits-all approach won't work. "e most appropriate kill method for a big tuna isn't the same thing that works for anchovies," she says. "Poor fish welfare in the last few minutes of life can significantly de- grade the quality of the fish, erasing efforts made over years of careful farming to raise healthy and high-quality animals. Make sure your suppliers are considering the science and re- search, and making informed decisions for their operation." Claudia also believes that activists will attempt to "hu- manize" fish in the coming years without understanding their physiology or natural behavior. To combat this issue, suppliers and grocers need to educate consumers about the harvesting and retailing of farmed fish. "We hear people saying that fish in farms are 'crowd- ed' and 'stressed,'" she says. "In the wild, most farmed species school tightly together — that is how they prefer to swim. … Careful attention is paid to oxygen levels in the water, stocking densities and performance of the fish. If fish are stressed, they don't eat, they don't grow and they get sick, which means losing most of your crop, or [it] costs money to treat. So there is no incentive for a fish farmer to make his fish stressed." Fowl Treatment Turning to chicken — the most-consumed meat in the country, with broiler birds representing more than 90 percent of all animals raised for food in the United States — retailers and suppliers are seeing awareness rise regarding birds' suf- fering from extreme overcrowding, barren environments and unnatural lighting programs to keep them eating around the clock with little rest, according to Nancy Roulston, ASPCA's director of corporate engagement, farm animal welfare. Further, through selective breeding, these birds now grow four times faster than they did 50 years ago, resulting in a variety of physical problems, including leg injuries and cardiovascular ailments. is is expected to remain a concern in the coming years that grocers and their suppliers will need to address. "e stress and illness caused by such unhealthy conditions have resulted in reliance on antibiotics in the chicken industry," Roulston says. "With awareness of these problems on the rise, brands and retailers should look to welfare certifications which address the effects of fast growth, if not requiring slower-growing breeds, and mandate more space, enrichment and a healthier lighting program. A move to adopt welfare certifications will address not only the welfare concerns, but also the inevitable calls for transparency." As for laying birds and eggs, recent times have seen all

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