Today we had a meeting with Demeter Netherlands about the welfare of laying hens during catching, loading and slaughtering. At the moment, laying hens on Demeter farms in the Netherlands are still being caught in the same way as non-Demeter hens, namely by their legs and held upside down, with a catcher holding 3-5 hens in one hand.
We have asked Demeter to switch, just like Rondeel and Kipster, to the Swedish catching method (keeping birds upright and supporting them around their wings) which causes less stress and pain. Unfortunately, Demeter has indicated that although the Swedish catching method fits into their philosophy, they do not intend to make it compulsory for the time being.
Demeter would prefer that their farmers use this Swedish catching method themselves; so not out of obligation, but from an intrinsic motivation. We agreed to give a workshop to the members of Demeter about the Swedish catching method and how to decrease stress during catching and slaughter. Demeter will organize this workshop. In addition, Demeter is developing an advisory document for their members about the catching, transport and slaughter of poultry. In this way, Demeter hopes, among other things, to implement the Swedish catching method step by step. Eyes on Animals was asked to provide feedback on this advisory document.
Demeter will also be looking for a farmer who wants to put the Swedish method into practice with Eyes on Animals and will map out where there is financial space to cover the additional costs of catching by the Swedish method.
We hope that this cooperation will eventually lead to Demeter laying hens benefitting from better welfare during catching.