"The OIE Regional Animal Welfare Strategy (RAWS) for Asia provides a vision of “a region where the welfare of animals is respected, promoted and incrementally advanced, simulations with the pursuit of progress and socioeconomic development”
- OIE Regional Animal Welfare Strategy (2008)
Around one-third of the Thai population is employed in agriculture, with animal products accounting for 9% of total agricultural production. The pig and poultry sectors are Thailand’s primary livestock industries. There has been growth in the importance of the livestock sector and intensive production has increased (Singhapreecha, 2014). Livestock industrialisation has seen the average broiler farm in Thailand grow to 10,000 birds per house, with corporate farms holding 20,000 to 100,000 birds. The average number of sows for contract pig farmers has grown from 100 to 300 since the early 2000s. (FAO, 2012)
Most livestock farms, except cattle farms, are highly concentrated in a few provinces in the central, eastern and western regions around Bangkok. These provinces have all three main characteristics that make them suitable for livestock production, i.e., they are the major feed production areas, very close to Bangkok which is not only the largest meat market but also the main export ports.
The major broiler producing provinces are Cholburi and Chacherngsao in the East, Nakorn Pathom in the West, Ayudhaya in the Central region, and Nakorn Ratchasima (or Korat) which is the Northeastern province closest to Bangkok (see figure 2.5). Recently, the broiler production has rapidly expanded to the eastern provinces (such as Saraburi, Nakorn Nayok and Prachinburi), Lopburi in the Central and Supanburi in the West.
Most of the new farmers are contract farmers with the exporting integrating agri-business companies. The integrators prefer to expand their production away from the existing major broiler producing provinces which are densely populated with all type of livestock farm. The major egg producing provinces are the same as the broiler production, i.e., Chacherngsao, Cholburi and Nakorn Pathom. Recently, new layer farms are found in the eastern provinces of Nakorn Nayok and Prachinburi.
*Image credit to http://livestock.geo-wiki.org
Section 7: Animal Welfare
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Messages for improving animal welfare at slaughter and during transport, adapted from the OIE Animal Welfare Standards
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Pongchan received his Ph.D. in Animal Breeding and Applied Ethology from Kansas State University and is now an Associate Professor in the School of Animal Production Technology at the Institute of Agricultural Technology, Suranaree University of Technology. His specific research interests include Thai native pig conservation and utilization, domestic animal behavior, and sustainable livestock production systems.