Chicken offered in Dutch supermarkets to lead a 'greater life' by 2023: 'That is a large step in opposition to greater animal welfare'

Chicken offered in Dutch supermarkets to lead a 'greater life' by 2023: 'That is a large step in opposition to greater animal welfare'

In March this twelve months, Dutch retailer Albert Heijn presented plans to fetch obvious all new rooster offered in store would elevate the ‘Beter Level’ (Better Life) note with at the very least one giant title.

Since then, all nationwide supermarket chains accept as true with adopted suit, meaning that by the pause of 2023, all new rooster offered in nationwide retail outlets might well accept as true with been produced with animal welfare in mind.

For Ingrid de Jong, who researches poultry welfare at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, the supermarkets’ stance marks a ‘gigantic step’ in opposition to greater animal welfare. “There is a large contrast between a conventional, swiftly-rising broiler rooster and a Beter Leven 1 Huge title – rooster.”

Better Life note

The Better Life note – identified as Beter Leven in Dutch – used to be developed by the Dutch Society for the Safety of Animals (SPA).

Regarded the finest animal protection organization in the Netherlands, the Dutch SPA advocates for natural and free fluctuate animal farming methods. However, in step with the membership organisation, lower than 1% of the 450 million animals produced per twelve months in the country are saved in these methods.

To be in a jam to boost the welfare of the diversified 99% of farmed animals that stay in ‘very intense’ and ‘no longer very animal pleasant’ methods, the Dutch SPA worked with enterprise to originate the Better Life note.

Designed to magnify animal welfare transparency in retail, the note indicates ‘how well the animal in the support of your product is cared for’, explaining the Dutch SPA. “That methodology, you accept as true with rep admission to this info whenever you to resolve a product. This presents you additional management over what you ought to must engage, taking into myth no longer handiest what perfect fits your taste and your wallet, But moreover how you mediate animals ought to be handled.

“Whereas you to resolve products with a giant title, you to resolve products for which you ​know about the animal’s residing instances. The extra stars, the extra animal-pleasant the product, and the greater the residing instances accept as true with been.”

Welfare transparency

Namely, one giant title methodology that animals accept as true with extra room than used intensive farming. “There are fewer chickens per sq. meter, they receive distraction field cloth similar to straw bales, there might be daylight in the stables and the animals can breeze to a covered bustle,” ​in step with Wageningen’s de Jong.

“Furthermore, the Beten Level rooster is genetically a the truth is diversified animal than the humble swiftly-rising rooster. It has a particular fetch and is extra principal and packed with life.”

Chicken products that receive two Better Life stars methodology the animals moreover accept as true with rep admission to outside, and three stars methodology they’d basically the most amount of living every internal and outside.


To be eligible for the Better Life note, the Better Life Designate Foundation (BLLF) conducts an preliminary review on the total internal suppliers of the product’s offer chain. After a preliminary approval, taking part companies are moreover inspected and certified by neutral certification our bodies at the very least once per twelve months.

Certification our bodies draw to behavior unannounced inspections and audits of roughly 20% of all farm animals farms, and behavior ‘mark-support’ inspections at roughly 15% of carrier companies in the provision chain. “These inspections will stumble on the glorious compliance of suppliers and patrons and test the balance in kilos of the incoming and outgoing products,” ​the Dutch SPA explained.

Animal welfare vs local weather footprint

Whether or no longer animals raised in step with greater welfare requirements are greater or worse by the methodology of environmental sustainability is a contentious demand. And no longer one with out problems answered.

In step with Bram Bos, who researches animal production methods at Wageningen, Better Life rooster is no longer basically greater for the local weather.

“The animals stay longer and therefore need extra feed. More vitality is moreover wanted per chick for heating in the first duration, because fewer animals stay in a stable. These elements the truth is magnify CO₂ emissions.”

On the diversified hand, he persisted, the contemporary diet for Better Life rooster contains much less diet than the contemporary diet for its total, swiftly-rising counterpart.

And if that soy comes from arable land that used to be previously a rainforest, similar to might well even moreover be the case in the South American Amazon, that the land spend alternate will ‘add up swiftly’ – accounting for extra than 50% – in the calculation of the carbon footprint, he explained .

“Our contemporary calculations demonstrate at a Better Life rooster that’s fed with soy from a country with land spend alternate (similar to Brazil) has much less CO₂ emissions per kg of stay weight than a total swiftly-rising rooster with soy of the identical origin.

“That calculation appears to be like another way if the alternate in land spend for soy cultiv ation is no longer integrated (eg if the soy comes from the US): then the Better Life rooster ratings much less well than the used, swiftly-rising rooster.”

The boss suggested that’s ‘partly an accounting scenario’. As lengthy as the worldwide inquire of for soy is excessive, diversified occasions in the arena will offer the soy from Brazil, which methodology there might be no longer any mountainous diversified for the conclude on local weather, he explained.

“The Better Life rooster the truth is uses much less soy than the humble swiftly-rising rooster, and that ends in a reducing inquire of for soy. And that in flip can contribute to lowering the strain to convert tropical rainforests into arable lands for soya, amongst diversified things.

“Obviously, the local weather and the atmosphere are greater off after we bask in much less animal meals products.”

Better animal welfare for all Dutch chickens?

The supermarkets’ pledge concerns new rooster products handiest. This implies that diversified rooster-based mostly products offered in nationwide retail outlets – similar to rooster soup or frozen rooster products – might well even fair mute bask in meat from swiftly-rising chickens.

As de Jong explained, that point out can mute be offered in quick meals restaurants and in Dutch butchers. “However, sustainability and animal welfare are moreover on the agenda in these sectors and the identical traits are taking living as previously in supermarkets.

“I quiz that we are going to moreover stumble on a extra diverse market in diversified countries with extra welfare-pleasant farming and the utilization of slower rising chickens.”

GettyImages/ Condor83

The supermarket pledges inform Dutch produced rooster offered internally the Netherlands, meaning that farmers producing rooster for the worldwide market needn’t adhere to the Better Life animal welfare requirements.

In step with Wageningen, in 2020, 65% of broiler hens accept as true with been ‘swiftly rising’: “That share will fall attributable to the decision of the supermarkets, likely no longer to zero.”

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