Eyes on Animals is very concerned about the use of transport-containers for spent hens. In various countries, we have witnessed how spent hens are loaded into these containers. The problems were the same everywhere: the container-drawers are too low and too wide. The hens (which are taller than the drawers) have to be literally pushed and folded into them. Due to the panic caused by this process (and the limited headspace they have), they attempt to escape in large numbers. As a result, it is nearly impossible to close the drawers without trapping, hitting or crushing the hens.
Containers are in (facts) fact designed for broilers, which are less mobile and (less tall) shorter than hens. In our view, these containers should not be allowed to be used for hens. Regulation 1/2005 states that the design and use of containers must not cause any unnecessary suffering.
In the Netherlands, the majority of spent hens are loaded into crates that are taller than the drawers of containers. However, even in the Netherlands, laying hens destined for Belgian slaughterhouses are sometimes loaded into containers. Eyes on Animals has previously expressed its concerns about the containers to the poultry sector and to container manufacturers. We have now also shared our concerns with the NVWA (Dutch Food and Safety Authority ). Eyes on Animals is working hard to make sure there comes a a stop to this illegal, but common practice. Transport modules should be designed according to type of animal, and not force animals to squeeze into such poorly designed modules.