‘Retail, sector and government benefit from livestock farming with fewer animals’ – Anne Hilhorst (Wakker Dier) sees major changes – Foodlog

I still get goosebumps when I think about the promise of the supermarkets. Within the next two years, they will all switch to chicken with at least one Beter Leven star from the Dutch Society for the Protection of Animals. A step for which we at Wakker Dier have been fighting for nine years. And that seemed unfeasible for a long time. A step that will save a lot of misery for the 100 million chickens that the Dutch eat every year. And that may change a lot more than that.

Rabobank expects this switch to reduce the number of broilers in the Netherlands by 40 percent – ​​an unprecedented decline in the livestock population. And that while the number of chick farmers remains the same. According to Rabobank, it is therefore possible: fewer animals without the feared decrease in the number of farmers or the exodus from the countryside. What does change is the dynamics within the sector. Soon, half of the broiler farmers will produce according to standards that exceed the statutory standards and for the Dutch market. What does this do to the farmers’ lobby and support for export? I am curious what is then seen as the farmer’s interest.

Soon, half of the broiler farmers will produce according to standards that exceed the statutory standards and for the Dutch market. What does this do to the farmers’ lobby and support for export? I’m curious what is seen as the farmer’s interest

In the meantime, the integrated chain is on the rise in supermarkets. Albert Heijn works with regular farmers on ‘Better for’ programs for chicken, dairy and pig. Jumbo often enters into long-term relationships with farmers. En Plus introduced ‘farmer pride’, including pork from farmers who supply the supermarket exclusively. In this way, the supermarkets take responsibility for the entire chain: from farm to fork. And that offers opportunities for animal welfare.

Farmers can invest more easily because of the sales guarantee and a better price.
Abuses no longer only affect farmers and slaughterhouses, but also the seller. And more importantly: with a high-quality chain, a supermarket can create added value. This clears the way to position meat differently. As a valuable luxury product, instead of a cheap banger.

I am also finally seeing a movement towards less and better in government. Even the CDA reluctantly admits that shrinking livestock is inevitable! The nitrogen case forces the government to do something about livestock farming. And in the coalition agreement I read that she also wants to tackle other problems at the same time. She even refers explicitly to the advice of the Council for Animal Affairs on animal husbandry. It would be naive to expect that tomorrow everything will be better, but there seems to be a different wind blowing.

Very cautiously, our government seems to be moving towards real reform. For example, retail, sector and government suddenly benefit from livestock farming with fewer animals, better welfare requirements and a better revenue model, more domestic market and much less export. With an end to the livestock industry as we know it today. And that is an outcome where everyone wins. Last but not least the animals.

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‘Retail, sector and government benefit from livestock farming with fewer animals’ – Anne Hilhorst (Wakker Dier) sees major changes – Foodlog

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