The “Goed Beter Best” master plan describes what the poultry processing industry seeks to ensure animal welfare in the short (0-2 years), medium (2-5 years) and long term. Short-term goals include setting a standard for injuries from hunting and loading; Stimulating the development of surveillance with smart cameras; A protocol was developed to assess the suitability of animal transfer.
In the medium term, the program includes research into the added value of mechanical ventilation during transportation; And the development of systems to prevent unexpected overturning in the slaughterhouse. In the long run, these uncontrolled tipping should be eliminated completely. Also, uncontrolled sticking should then be phased out, provided that an alternative method of electrocuting the water bath is available by then.
Mr. Van Castell, Director of Agricultural Animal Chains and Animal Welfare at the Ministry of Agriculture, was positive about the sector taking these steps itself. He stressed the importance of staying ahead of the curve in the field of animal welfare. “We see around us that the political and social debate is getting more and more intense.”
National Heat Plan
Van Kasteel lamented that the animal welfare report does not offer a solution to transporting livestock at extremely high temperatures. Oplaat said in response that he would sign immediately if NVWA was ready to make inspectors available at midnight. The desire of the slaughterhouses for some time has been to push the work forward in extreme weather conditions so that transport can be done before it gets too hot. However, this is not possible because there is no government oversight. This is also mentioned in the short-term objective in the welfare plan: to hold discussions with government agencies for the purpose of obtaining supervision during the cold hours.
President Gert Jan Oblat noted that the celebration of the 45th anniversary was modest. The evolution of purchasing power, Ukraine, Corona, the chaos surrounding the nitrogen file, the evasion of bird flu and rising labor costs are no cause for great celebration. Very big challenges for the sector. “But the entrepreneurs are quite optimistic and have shown resilience.”
Nepluvi Chairman also discussed what he called the framing of the meat (poultry) sector. He argues that social media gives the impression that society as a whole is vegetarian or vegan. “But Dutch consumers ate more meat in 2021 than in the previous year and consumption appears to have increased as well in 2022.” Another picture he wants to correct is that production for export doesn’t make sense. Part of the export concerns the parts that are not eaten here. Moreover, the export mainly goes to neighboring countries. “For some producers, Germany is closer than Amsterdam. The Netherlands is good at agricultural food and we should cherish that.”
Nor is it justification for advocating the view that poultry slaughterhouses make a mess of things. There were nearly 90,000 inspections last year. This resulted in 349 written warnings and 266 monetary fines; So the poultry slaughterhouses are working well.”
Oplaat argued for more targeted regulation rather than regulation. This is also stated in the long-term goals in animal welfare plans. According to him, Dutch companies have shown that they can achieve good results with this. “One example of this success story that the Netherlands is known for around the world is the reduction in the use of antibiotics.” He argued that if one company was found not to be in compliance with the regulations, a regulation of means could only be imposed on that company.
On the most recent anniversary five years ago, the Nepluvi chief noted the difficult relationship with NVWA, with expensive checks and high fines. “One supervisor for 8 hours a day costs the slaughterhouse €341,000 a year and there is a proposal to increase prices by 35%! We are pushing for a reduction, but it is not easy if there is always a new minister in the LNV. In Germany, Belgium and the UK, the government bears These costs. There are heavy fines in the Netherlands for relatively minor infractions. Slaughterhouses in the Netherlands pay tens of thousands of euros in fines, in other countries the amount is a few hundred euros for the same violation.” On the other hand, according to Oplaat, NVWA is more open to arguments and leans more toward risk-oriented supervision. He says he has “great confidence” in Minister Beth Adema.
During the meeting, European Parliament Member Bert Jan Roesen (SGP) discussed Brussels policy. According to him, the European Commission does not set realistic targets for making adjustments in agriculture, nor does it use a realistic timetable.