Tonight we were at a Kipster laying-hen farm in Beuningen (NL) – where 22,000 “spent” hens were being caught for transport to slaughter. A television-crew from a well-known German channel were there as were some of our German colleagues.
At Kipster, all hens are caught using the EonA upright method (max. 2 hens at a time and always held upright and handled calmly when placed upright into the crates) instead of the conventional method (hens are grabbed abruptly by the leg and left hanging upside down, 3-5 hens are inverted per hand). Kipster was one of the first major egg companies to make the switch around 4 years ago.
Before we started, we gave the chicken-catchers (from Poland and the Netherlands) a short explanation in Polish and Dutch about the upright catching technique and why it is used. Not only is the catching-technique important, but the mentality of the catchers is also essential A catcher who is disrespectful and demotivated will cause more stress to the bird, independent of the catching technique. It is always a challenge to keep all catchers motivated until the end of the night. During the catch, some individuals worked too roughly in our opinion, but the majority of the team were very professional and worked calmly until the end. This deserves a compliment, especially because tonight we worked with only half the team – making the work extra intense. All-in all we are very pleased with the progress and the motivation of the team.
We also want to compliment Kipster who consciously choose to catch their chickens upright in order to reduce stress as much as possible and show some gratitude towards the hens before sending them to slaughter. If eggs are going to be consumed, then let’s push for the more humane options and see an end to unnecessary and avoidable suffering.
Do you want to know which egg producers are catching their birds upright?