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Risking animal welfare

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Netherlands - In the period 2012-2017, Dutch banks have invested EUR 8,8 billion in the world’s biggest companies in the chicken and pork industry. To varying degrees, these companies cause or are directly linked to animal welfare infringements on a massive scale. These infringements are caused by overcrowding (high stocking densities), barren environments, mutilations, selective breeding, the use of cages, restrictive feeding, rough handling and inadequate slaughter methods. The animals experience pain, stress and boredom. They are not able to express their natural behaviour - or are severely restricted in doing so. They are prone to suffer from leg problems, respiratory problems, infectious diseases en injuries. Moreover, several of these companies have hit the news in recent years due to investigations revealing gross animal cruelty, including Tyson Foods.

Industrial, or intensive, livestock production follows a business model based on exploiting economies of scale, with the main objective to maximize profitability. Animal welfare is therefore continuously at risk. Because this risk is systematic and inherent to the characteristics of the sector, this reports questions the financial relationships of Dutch banking groups with the world’s largest industrialised chicken and pig meat producers and processors, retailers and restaurants.

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