German poultry industry agrees to beak trimming ban
Beak trimming in the German poultry industry is going to become a thing of the past following the signing of a voluntary agreement which will ban the practice as of 1 January 2017.
The move is a key component of an animal welfare initiative "A question of attitude". Signatories of the pioneering agreement are the Central Association of German Poultry Industry Association, the German Egg Association and the Association of German Turkey Producers and the country's Federal Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt.
In signing the agreement, the poultry industry has committed to stop beak trimming of layers from 1 August 2016, and to stop stocking pullets with trimmed beaks from 1 January 2017.
"Timely as well as ambitious"
"We are in Germany on the right track to become the EU trendsetter in animal welfare," Schmidt commented on the signing. "The agreement is timely as well as ambitious in comparison to other known initiatives. This is not only a success on the road to more animal welfare, but it also shows that we can achieve a lot with the principle of voluntary commitment."
"Animal welfare is key for guiding of our daily work" said Leo Graf von Drechsel, president of the Central Association of the German poultry industry. "We see ourselves as a constructive partner, we hear very clearly what society thinks and we are proud to have implemented this agreement on a voluntary basis".
Calls for EU-wide harmonisation
Graf Drechsel also made it clear that the waiver of beak trimming needs an enormous effort from the industry, also in financial terms. In order that this 'tour de force' doesn't start a competitive disadvantage for the German egg producers, the industry and government need to support the policy: "We have to promote this topic at European level", said Graf Drechsel calling for EU-wide harmonisation."
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