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Farmers Want to Allay Fears over Welfare

by 5m Editor
18 October 2010, at 9:34am

GERMANY - Farmers are launching an attempt to clean up the image of poultry farming by meeting with animal welfare groups and opening some farms for visitors.

German poultry farmers are launching an image campaign to counter increasing opposition to the methods they use to produce the average 18.6 kilos of poultry each German eats per year, reports TheLocal in Germany.

Helmut Born, secretary general of the German Farmers' Association (DBV), explained: "Currently, so much aggression has built up that for example, practically no new facilities can be built to produce poultry. But this is our most important production sector in Germany."

He said the DBV wants to hold discussions with animal rights groups on how to improve conditions.

The poultry industry has difficulty matching the increasing demand for its products with widespread disgust at how it operates, according to the report.

One poultry farm was burned down in Sprötze, south of Hamburg, in July. It is being rebuilt, with the addition of an area for visitors to come and see what happens inside.

Mr Born said: "The burned-down farms in Sprötze will have a glass visitors area. We invite anyone who wishes to come and see the chicken stalls. We want to clearly show people what we do. We have nothing to hide there."

The DBV is calling for the newly introduced group cages for egg-laying hens to be brought in worldwide, in order to prevent the German industry from being disadvantaged.

"If one really wants animal protection, one must at least achieve more unity worldwide," said Mr Born.

TheLocal reports that the law that came into force at the start of the year means all German producers have to keep their laying hens in small group cages. Animal rights groups contest this leaves each animal less space than a piece of A4 paper.