A chicken farm in Limburg has won this year’s award for the most deceptive food marketing, in an annual contest organised by animal rights lobby group Wakker Dier.
The company, Kloeke Kip (brave chicken) from Grubbevorst, which has been advertising its product as ‘honest chicken’, ‘stress free’ and ‘focused on the welfare of the animal’ received 43% of the votes.
Wakker Dier spokesman Kenny van Oostrik called the claims ‘pure nonsense’. ‘Kloeke Kip wants to expand to a gigantic farm of a million ‘plofkippen’ and that has nothing to do with animal welfare,’ he said.
Meat from extremely fast-growing chickens known as ‘plofkip’ – which is fed to grow two kilos in six weeks – has been phased out from fresh meat departments in Dutch supermarkets. The current cheapest chicken comes from hens which are raised slightly more slowly than ‘plofkip’.
Kloeke Kip had protested against its nomination for the award and said its barns were ‘the most sustainable in the world’.
‘Some companies are very good at hiding animal suffering,’ Oostrik said, ‘and that disturbs the market and pushes out animal friendlier products.’
Some 21,500 people made their preference clear in what was the 12th edition of the award. The Dutch national dairy organisation came second with 28% of the votes for its campaign ‘the Netherlands runs on dairy’ which had been told to moderate its claims earlier by the advertising standards authority RCC.
The ‘sustainable fishery’ labels ASC (farmed fish) and MSC (fish caught in the wild), criticised for handing out labels to companies which kill fish without sedation, came third with 28% while Zeeuws Meisje vegetable margarine, which has milk components, came fourth with 9%.
The fishery labels have also maintained their practices are sustainable but, says Oostrik, ‘the fish are put on ice in which case they suffocate, or are cut open alive. ‘Fish experience pain, stress and fear, just like other animals,’ Oostrik said.
Last year’s winner, supermarket Albert Heijn, which said the chicken it was selling had benefitted from ‘more space’ when ‘less space’ would have been more accurate, has since changed the description on the packaging.
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