Up to 1,600 Dutch farmers are now rearing chickens and pigs under the welfare-friendly Better Life trademark. However, it has been stated that supermarkets were not doing enough to encourage the sale of chicken with a quality label.
Launched ten years ago by animal protection group Dierenbescherming, six poultry farmers were among the first to join the scheme as they wanted to provide their hens with more room and a covered outdoor space to forage.
Five years ago, the number of farmers participating had grown to 800 and now 31 million animals are being reared under the scheme, which has a three star system, based on the number and scale of welfare measures on farm.
But there are still 2,500 pig and poultry farmers in Holland that have yet to join the scheme and Dierenbescherming spokesman Niels Dorland said more needed to be done to encourage farmers who exported their meat to third countries.
“We are leading the way in the Netherlands but we are not yet done. We have to keep on going because 2,500 is still far too many,” he told Dutch News.
Earlier this month, animal rights lobby group Wakker Dier said supermarkets were not doing enough to encourage the sale of chicken with a quality label and some were selling more of the cheapest meat to produce.
Random tests of 12 supermarket chains found that two thirds of chicken products did not have any form of quality label.
“That means supermarkets are promoting the sale of chickens raised in the poorest circumstances,” said a spokesman.