Abuse in poultry macro-farms: the NGO Equalia denounces a "plague" of cases in Europe

  • The animal rights platform reveals a new case of animal abuse at an Austrian farm that supplies Lidl supermarkets

  • Previous investigations have also found similar situations in Germany, Italy and Spain.

A truck breaks into a macrofarm full of chickens. In reversing, she runs over several animals and smashes them to pieces. Some are left dying on the ground. Others die on the spot. Their corpses pile up on the ground. The presence of other putrefied bodies indicates that It is not the first time it happens. The other animals on the farm, in fact, cohabit with the remains of their relatives. These are the conditions that, according to what the NGO Equalia revealed on Monday, are lived in an Austrian macrofarm which provides, among others, to the Lidl supermarket chain.

It is not the first time that such a case has been detected.. In recent months, a European investigation led by the animal platform has revealed Similar cases in Germany, Italy and Spain. Just a few weeks ago, the scandal reached two Spanish farms: one in Seville, in the municipality of Villamanrique de la Condesa, and another in Tarragona. In both cases, the leaking of some images recorded by workers revealed scenes of mistreatment in Spanish facilities that had been recognized with the animal welfare seal ‘Welfare’.

“We have detected this same pattern in farms of various parts of Europe. We see both cases of alleged animal abuse and some Crimes against public health. The situation is very serious,” warns Cristina Martín, spokesperson for Equalia in an interview with EL PERIÓDICO. The animalist platform denounces that, in many cases, these cases of animal abuse directly collide with the legislation of the countries. It also clashes with the commitments of supermarket chains that, as in the case of Lidl, claim to be committed to animal welfare.

same pattern

All cases detected to date of mistreatment in poultry macro-farms share the same pattern. They take place in intensive facilities, where hundreds of thousands of animals are grouped in tiny spaces and in conditions that, in many cases, border on unhealthy. “These macro-farms are dedicated to raising a variety of chickens that is genetically modified to grow as quickly as possible. These animals go from 44 grams to 4.2 kilos in just forty days. To give us an idea, it would be the equivalent to raising babies that gain more than 300 kilos in just two months“Martin says.

This macrofarm model has been widely criticized so much by animal groups as for the scientific community. Especially since, according to the experts, this type of environment can become a powder keg for diseases. Both for the animals themselves and for people. Several reports also highlight the risk posed by some practices carried out in these types of facilities. This is the case, for example, of the massive use of antibiotics in animals: a phenomenon that, in the long run, can reduce the effectiveness of these drugs in people and contribute to the plague of bacterial resistance.

European commitment

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For several years now, scientists and ecologists have been demanding to reverse this situation. One of the start-up initiatives for this is known as ‘European Chicken Commitment’: a “minimum agreement” to guarantee animal welfare in the facilities. This project asks farms and suppliers to commit, for example, to reduce the density of animals per square meter and improve the air quality of spaces. One of the great absentees, as denounced from Equalia, is precisely the Lidl supermarket chain: one of the links that unites all the macro-farms investigated in this project.

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To date, it is estimated that more than 300 companies have signed this pact. In Spain, near the half of the supermarkets have subscribed to it. “Businesses engage in large part because the consumers are increasingly aware of the cause“, says Martínez, recalling that, according to the latest Eurobarometer on agriculture and livestock, on 30% of Europeans claims to be committed to the welfare of farm animals.


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