As the welfare of animals and the ways of producing animal products become more and more the focus of society, the animal sectors starting adjusting. In the Netherlands, this has led to a large variety of initiatives for new housing-systems for animals, amongst which poultry.
Most of these housing types focus on improving animal welfare, based on the natural needs and behaviors of animals. This means slower growing animals, natural light, enrichment material, more space etc.
A range of concepts
On the one side of the spectrum, we find the regular housing system that is common in most poultry producing countries. On the other side, we find the organic farms. In between, many concepts and initiatives have risen, each with its own specific requirements. The table depicts some of the most important housing types and several of their requirements. The Dutch Society for the Protection of Animals (‘Dierenbescherming’) for instance has requirements in place for most animal sectors. They divide the requirements in 3 star categories: 1 star means animal welfare a bit above regular farming and three stars is equal to organic farming.
All poultry farms have to comply with European and national legislation. Participation in any of the other initiatives is voluntary.
The table below shows a few examples of housing systems used in the Netherlands with their requirements.