The big three Dutch banks have pumped billions of euros into the factory farming sector in the past few years, and companies with a bad reputation in terms of animal welfare have benefited, according to a new report by the Fair Finance Guide.
‘We are talking about companies in which animal welfare standards are very often very poor,’ the report said. ‘This means sows which are locked up in cages, piglets which are castrated without anaesthetic, broiler chickens packed into huge barns and killed using controversial methods.’
In total, the three biggest Dutch banks – ING, ABN Amro and Rabobank – invested at least €8.8bn into companies with poor reputations on animal welfare, of which Rabobank was by far the biggest.
Rabobank, for example, put €1bn into US company Tyson Foods in 2017. Tyson Foods hit the headlines last year when environmental activists took secret video footage showing chickens living in terrible conditions. The company has also been criticised for not improving the living conditions of its poultry or pigs.
Rabobank told news agency ANP in a reaction that animal welfare is a serious concern at the bank. ‘Our policy is that we raise issues of concern with our clients and try to encourage the client to change policy or living conditions,’ the spokesman said.
The Fair Finance Guide says the banks should be doing more to stop companies keeping animals in poor conditions and encouraging them to grow too fast.
The Volksbank (ASN Bank and SNS Bank), NIBC, Triodos Bank and Van Lanschot do not invest in firms with a poor reputation on animal welfare, the report said.
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