Hatcheries told to be quicker to feed new chicks, following long court case

Photo: Depositphotos.com
Photo: Depositphotos.com

New chicks destined for the meat industry are being denied food and water for long periods after they hatch, in what is effectively animal abuse, the Volkskrant said on Friday.

The newspaper has seen new farm ministry plans which include giving the industry five years to make sure that new chicks have access to food and water within 36 hours, rather than the current 60 hour rule.

New chicks are currently not fed until they have been transported in crates to the farms where they will grow into broilers for consumption.

The government’s decision to change the rules on food and water comes after a long court case brought by animal rights campaign group Wakker Dier.

Judges have now ruled that the 60 hour rule is too long, forcing the government rethink.

The Volkskrant says that a report by researchers at Wageningen University which shows the death rate under chicks would be slashed if this was cut back to 36 hours, was given more weight in court than the government’s own inspectors.

Wakker Dier, which started the case in 2013, said it welcomes the court ruling but nevertheless plans to appeal because the five-year changeover period is still too long.

The Netherlands 10 or so hatcheries produce some 500 million new chicks a year, the paper said.

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