SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Research by Wageningen University for animal welfare organisation Wakker Dier, shows fewer poultry farmers are rearing so-called ‘plofkippen’, or fast-growing factory-farmed chickens.
Over the last seven years, 30% of chicken farmers have switched to a breed of chicken that does not grow so fast and therefore cannot be classified as ‘plofkip’ (exploding chicken), the researchers said.
The new breed, called ‘the new standard chicken’ at Jumbo supermarkets and ‘the new AH Chicken’ at Albert Heijn, has more space, grows at a slower pace and lives an average of a week longer.
‘Most supermarkets have made the change, so most consumers are covered’, Anne Hilhorst of Wakker Dier told broadcaster NOS. The animals’ physical condition has improved markedly compared to 2011 when Wageningen researchers also looked into the discomforts suffered by factory-farmed chickens.
In 2011, for example, 50% of chickens had foot sores. That has now gone down to 15% to 20%. But Wakker Dier commented that 70% of Dutch chickens are exported abroad and that most of these are of the fast-growing variety.
‘We eat the ‘better quality chicken’ at home, Hilhorst is quoted as saying. ‘We hope all chickens in the Netherlands will eventually qualify for a minimum of one-star Beter Leven quality label.
All pork is now one star, so it can be done. It’s a little more expensive but consumers will pay for what they trust,’ she told the broadcaster. (DutchNews)