In many countries including the Netherlands, when meat ducks are caught for transport to slaughter, they are typically grabbed by the neck (under the head), several at a time, and thrown into crates or containers from a distance.
Holte Gard, a mixed farm in Norway, demonstrates that there is an alternative approach. Using partitions, “lanes” are created at the edges of the barn. Through these lanes, the ducks are calmly herded in small groups towards the crates with great care.
The ducks are then individually lifted. They are held by the neck with one hand while the other hand supports the abdomen. This prevents the weight of the ducks from pulling on their necks, and reduces the risk of breathing difficulties caused by excessive pressure on the neck. The lifting process is very brief as the crates are positioned directly next to them.
The regular method of catching ducks was filmed by Animal Rights in 2018. The footage shows ducks hanging by their heads/neck, struggling to breathe. They are then thrown into the drawers of containers from a significant distance. The footage also demonstrates that herding (in large groups) is accompanied by significant stress. To the best of our knowledge, the catching method has not changed since then and is furthermore in violation of the law.
Eyes on Animals commends Holte Gard for their efforts and hopes that more companies, like Holte Gard, will take initiative to minimize stress during catching. Eyes on Animals is eager to establish contact and provide assistance to duck farmers, catching teams, or slaughterhouses that are open to such support and are willing to try out more humane catching methods.