California Charter for Hand Feeding of Ducks and Geese
The Coalition is guided by the following principles for humane and ethical farming:
- Audits: Each farm must follow a set of specific humane protocols, including every point addressed in this charter, and submit to regular inspections by independently certified animal welfare experts to ensure compliance.
- Hand feeding: Farmers must use industry optimum equipment to feed the ducks using methods that do not cause harm to the esophagus or beak. Periodic exams must confirm the safety of the procedures.
- Animal Health Care Professional: Farms will schedule regular visits by an Animal Health Care Professional to assess the general health and living conditions of the birds. This is to be incorporated as a protocol, and frequency is to be determined by USDA inspection results.
- USDA inspection: Each bird must be inspected for good health by a USDA approved officer at the time of slaughter.
- Caretakers: Must be properly trained and adequately supervised. They must be gentle and calm in their gestures and movement.
- Mobility: Birds are to be raised in an environment that helps build and maintain strength in their legs and overall good health.
- Optimization: Birds are to be hand-fed in a manner that is adapted to their age and size. Each bird will be checked prior to feeding to evaluate its capacity so that the amount of feed may be optimized as opposed to maximized.
- Living conditions: Birds will be kept in comfortable conditions to minimize stress and maximize comfort at each stage. Appropriate lighting will be provided. Birds will have continual access to clean water. All barns will be kept at suitable temperatures consistent with each area’s specific weather conditions.
- Cage Free: Beginning January 1, 2017, birds may not be housed or fed at any time in cages that restrict the bird’s ability to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend its wings.
- Predators and pests: Appropriate measures must be implemented to keep predators, rodents and pests away from birds, and should include regular visits by professional pest control services.