Rabobank world’s biggest investor in mega factory farms: Trouw

Dutch banks ING and Rabobank are among the world’s biggest investors in giant factory farms in the US and developing economies such as Brazil and China, Trouw reports on Monday, quoting animal rights group Wakker Dier.

The massive farms, some with up to three million chickens or 10,000 pigs, are banned in Europe because of their impact on animal welfare, Trouw says.

Nevertheless, Rabobank has invested €4.2bn in such enterprises over the past three years, according to Wakker Dier, making it the world’s number one giant factory farm investor. ING, with investments of €1.4bn, is ninth on the list.

The banks are not breaking any rules because there are no rules governing animal welfare in the US, China and Brazil, Trouw states. However, Wakker Dier thinks savers should be aware the banks do not place any demands on the way animals are kept abroad.


Both Rabobank and ING said the size of a farm is not relevant to animal welfare, Trouw reports.

Rabobank said in a statement the report’s conclusions are ‘suggestive’. ‘In terms of animal welfare, we expect our clients to adhere to Food & Agribusiness principles and our animal welfare policies,’ the bank said.

ING said it had no objections in principle to giant factory farms and that it expects its clients to follow the law in terms of animal accommodation and welfare.

One of the companies in the report – Thailand’s Charoen Pokphand – is building 13 factory farms in China.

One of them, the Pinggu 3-million Layer Chicken Project, will produce three million battery chickens a year which are kept in a space equivalent to 400 cm2 per hen. That is half the space required by law in the Netherlands.

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