Welcome to CHOOK CHAT the Australian chicken meat industry’s blog and hello my name is Dr Vivien Kite.
The answer is yes we are. We’ve actually been telling our story for many years, admittedly via more traditional ‘off line’ channels, so we’re excited about the opportunity the blog gives us. I’ll share my knowledge of the industry to address those perpetual myths, tell you about challenges we’re facing and what we’re doing about them and give you an insight into the way we do things and why.
I’d say my extensive knowledge of the industry and experience in managing research issues for the industry, dealing with issues including animal health, animal welfare, research and food safety, provide a good basis. I get to talk to the farmers, the processing companies, governments and, animal welfare and other advocacy groups, and now I want to share my experience with you.
After completing my PhD in hen physiology and behaviour and working on chicken welfare and behaviour research overseas, I’ve been an active member of the chicken meat industry for over 24 years. I like to think I know what makes chooks (and the industry) tick…
I’m no stranger to challenges and was instrumental in managing the National Newcastle Disease Survey for the Australian poultry industry in 2000 which, at the time, was probably the largest structured disease surveillance program ever undertaken in the poultry industry anywhere in the world. Newcastle disease is a highly infectious, viral poultry disease that remains constantly monitored by the industry. I also had an instrumental role in coordinating the implementation of a National Avian Influenza survey in 2006.
One of my main responsibilities now, in addition to my day-to-day role at the Australian Chicken Meat Federation (ACMF), is to manage the Australian chicken meat industry’s national research and development program, in my position as an external R&D Manager for the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) Chicken Meat Program.
Via my blog I really hope to give you a better insight into the industry.
To whet your appetite here are three interesting facts.
- The Industry is a significant contributor to the Australian economy – the industry estimates that consumers currently spend approximately $5.6 billion per year on chicken meat in retail outlets and restaurants
- Australians eat more chicken than any other meat, easily outstripping beef, with chicken meat consumption forecast to reach 45kg/per person in 2013/14
- Chickens are NOT fed hormones!
What am I going to blog about?
In CHOOK CHAT I’ll kick off with busting perpetual myths – yes 96% of us are still in the dark when it comes to cages – tell you more about the different farming systems and what it means to the chickens, and discuss why farm gates are closed for good reason but at the same time tell you more about the opportunities when we open our doors. Food safety will also be a topic I’ll delve into, looking at how the industry supply chain manages food safety standards and what you need to know to avoid common food safety risks. Do you know your leg from your drumette from your wing mid section without tip? You will!
Education is key in all we do.
I’m not here to promote products but to give you the facts. You’ll hear about what we have created to ensure that school kids do know where their chicken comes from; you’ll hear about what the environmental impacts of chicken meat production are, and I’ll address your public health concerns around antibiotics. Objective information and informed debate are integral to CHOOK CHAT.
Why not take two minutes now to bookmark and follow us? My blog will be posted the first Tuesday of each month at www.chicken.org.au/chookchat/ and tweeted on ACMF @chookinfoline. Let me know of topics you’d like me to cover off and I’ll try my best to build them into my line-up this year.
Thank you for taking the time to read to this point and I look forward to addressing some of those perpetual myths with you next month…