Burning Questions
Fellowship Award Winners

Kate Hartcher

Location: Australia
Academic field: Veterinary science
Award category: PhD Holder

Guidance Memo

  • Title: “Supporting higher welfare cage-free egg production in China”
  • Keywords: China. Cage-free eggs. Farmers and producers. Animal welfare.
  • DOI: 10.15868/socialsector.36545
  • What We Learned From It:
    • Improving cage-free layer hen welfare in China is feasible and desirable.
    • The three most pressing and practical issues to address are: 1) Diseases (especially concerning biosecurity, vaccination, euthanasia). 2) Optimizing egg production, bird and shed management (especially concerning severe feather pecking, environment to allow natural behaviors, floor eggs). 3) Managing modern commercial breeds. These issues are considered by Chinese cage-free eggs producers to be very important.
    • The critical importance of involving and listening to the producers themselves when trying to raise animal welfare standards.


Some of the Things We Really Liked when We Read the Application

  • Consultation with local Chinese producers and animal welfare experts when gathering information and doing the research.
  • The work done with the fellowship award directly enhances Chinese farmers’ knowledge of best practice, and provides them with the training and information so they can do it themselves.
  • The Guidance Memo will be translated into Chinese.

What Hartcher says about the award:
“The Burning Questions Fellowship highlights the importance of both researching real-world problems as well as communicating these to the people on the ground, the end-users – an important and often overlooked aspect of research. I am honoured to be one of the recipients of the fellowship. It is an invaluable opportunity to broaden the scope of my work and affect change in animal welfare internationally. My research looks to develop resources with Chinese producers and researchers to improve the living conditions for millions of layer hens in China, and empower local producers to make change.” (Kate Hartcher)

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