S Wuccess for Wakker Dier
ell, it's finally happening. As from 2016, three major Dutch supermarkets - Albert Heijn, Jumbo and Lidl - will banish regularly produced poultry meat from their shelves. Animal rights organisation Wakker Dier hoists the victory flag, now that nearly half of the Dutch fresh chicken consumption will be free from the so-called 'plofkip' (exploding chicken).
Wakker Dier started the campaign against the maligned plofkip four years ago. In 2012, most consumers had absolutely no idea under which horrific circumstances broilers were produced, according to Wakker Dier. Regular broilers are literally in a tight spot, with 18 to 21 chickens (42 kgs) per square meter. With their explosively fast growth rate - 60 to 65 grams per day - they are transformed from a cuddly little day old chick to slaughter weight in no more than 36 to 42 days. This high speed growing, in dark sheds, huddled together in their own manure, results in numerous sole lesions, contusions and other ailments, according to the animal rights activists. The organisation made that poignantly clear to us, gullible consumers, in confrontational commercials on radio and tv.
The marketing experience that Wakker Dier's director brought in from previous jobs at large food concerns like Heineken and Unilever sure came in handy. As did the fact that the Dutch society for the protection of animals, the Dierenbescherming, introduced the 'Better Life Star System' for a more animal friendly way of meat and egg production. The Star System offered an alternative for the regular broiler production. Starting with One Star, the number of broilers is reduced to a maximum of twelve per square meter. One has to use slower