Today Eyes on Animals gave a presentation to the project-group “Animal Transport” from the German state of Lower Saxony Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection. The project group was made of representatives from, among others, the Ministry, the poultry industry, German animal welfare organizations and official veterinarians. The aim is to take animal welfare in Lower Saxony to a higher level, as part of the Lower Saxony Farm Animal Strategy – Animal Welfare Plan 4.0′.
In the presentation Eyes on Animals shared their findings from our inspections of poultry-trucks, and the catching and loading of birds at the farm. We talked about the much needed improvements to the design of transport crates and containers for laying hens and broilers, in order to reduce the risk of bruises, fractures and body parts getting crushed, and also ease the handling for the chicken catchers. We discussed the risks of the current catching method (grabbing the bird by one leg and holding them upside down) and informed the members of the project group on a gentler catching method, where the bird is held upright, with the hands around the wings. Eyes on Animals introduced this gentle upright method in the Netherlands a couple of years ago, and several farmers have made the switch since then. Kipster, one of those who has made the switch, also gave a presentation to share their experiences on the upright catching method and the changes they have made in their barns, in order to ease handling.
The presentations were received with enthusiasm and much interest. We hope our suggestions will help to improve the standard practices and policy, and that some German farmers are inspired to try out the upright catching method. Eyes on Animals is always happy to help and provide a training.