Breeding Sustainability: Key to successful poultry production

Santiago Avendano

Santiago Avendaño talked During a recent webinar for customers from Latin America

CAMPINAS, Brazil – In 1987, the United Nations (UN) established the concept of sustainability and defined it as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Sustainability has three main pillars: economic, environmental, and social (informally referred to as people, planet and profits). Because sustainable development is the international community’s most urgent priority, the UN set up 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a "blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all."

The International Poultry Council (IPC) has worked with its membership to identify areas where the global poultry industry could join in and make a difference, and as a result, in 2019 adopted five of the SDGs that are most relevant to the poultry industry.

Aligning with the IPCs priority SDGs

During a May webinar for customers from Latin America, Santiago Avendaño, Aviagen’s Global Director of Genetics, spoke on these five priority SDGs, which include:

  • Zero hunger (SDG 2). Poultry is a nutritious, affordable and accessible source of protein. Poultry breeders and producers help to put #FoodOnEveryTable of families around the world by promoting sustainable production.
  • Good health and well-being (SDG 3). High standards for animal health, welfare and biosecurity help secure the supply of this healthy, sustainable meat, thus reducing hunger and improving the well-being and prosperity of people around the world
  • Quality education (SDG 4). Through quality training and sharing of best management and manufacturing practices, the poultry industry works to strengthen the capacity to ensure high-quality and sustainable production.
  • Industry, innovation and infrastructure (SDG 9). The industry supports innovative and sustainable industrialization, while protecting the health and welfare of animals.
  • Climate action (SDG 13). The industry works on continual improvements and efficiencies to reduce greenhouse gases and other harmful emissions.

Top 5 Aviagen commitments – Working in harmony with the IPC

Avendaño made the point that the Top 5 Aviagen commitments -- which are aligned with the IPC’s five priority SDGs – are put into practice through Aviagen’s Breeding Sustainability approach:

  • Health, Food Safety and Food Security (Aviagen Commitment 1). Aviagen is committed to ensuring a safe and secure supply of healthy birds to help feed a growing population. To safeguard this supply, the company applies multiple strategies, including rigorous biosecurity protocols, production bases on five continents, compartmentalization and more.
  • Biodiversity (Aviagen Commitment 2). Aviagen maintains large, diverse gene pools, resulting in a wide portfolio of poultry brands and lines. Thus producers can offer the right bird for the right market, suitable for the world’s varying climates and production environments. And they can be ready to meet future needs as the market changes. 
  • Balanced Breeding (Aviagen Commitment 3). Responsible, balanced breeding simultaneously strengthens bird health, welfare, performance, as well as the sustainable production of chicken meat.
  • Importance of Flock Management and Stockmanship (Aviagen Commitment 4). Aviagen works closely with customers, sharing the most up-to-date management advice to help them get the best from their birds.
  • Transparency, Communication and Engagement (Aviagen Commitment 5). Aviagen regularly shares information, experiences and latest development with allied industries, government organizations and all members of the global poultry chain.

Sustainability and genetic improvement

According to Avendaño, to talk about sustainability and genetic improvement, it is necessary to distinguish between short- and long-term sustainability. Short-term sustainability, a key factor in promoting the economic pillar, affects companies and industry throughout the whole supply chain. Short-term sustainability, in turn, allows long-term sustainability to be projected and achieved.

FAO-OECD (2020) predict that globally, meat production is expected to increase by 40 MT by 2029 with poultry contributing to 50% of that increase. With about 26% of global C02 emissions being contributed by food production it is essential that this growth in meat production is reached sustainably on a global level. Aviagen takes our responsibility as a global poultry genetics company seriously, and by Breeding Sustainability, we are able to meet both the short- and long-term goals of simultaneously and continuously increasing production quantity and quality, while at the same time promoting bird health and welfare and reducing the environmental impact of meat production.

“At Aviagen, ‘Breeding Sustainability’ forms the foundation of our business. We take on the responsibility of raising bird productivity to supply food to a growing world population, while protecting the planet and improving animal health and welfare. With a balanced breeding approach, we offer birds with the best production efficiency possible, while contributing to the sustainability of the planet. Aviagen's vision is to continue working with balanced selection objectives, giving the industry and our customers a high-yield genetic potential for both broilers and breeders. With a strong, sustainable investment in Research and Development, along with constant expansion of our portfolio of products, we enable our customers to continuously adapt to market requirements,” concluded Avendaño.