Ban on beak trimming improves animal welfare in poultry sector

The abolition of beak trimming in the poultry sector will improve the welfare of 56 million hens, cocks and turkeys each year. In a letter to the House of Representatives, Minister for Agriculture Dijksma stated that a ban would be introduced in the Netherlands in 2018.

Preventative measures

This procedure is carried out to prevent feather pecking. Poultry farms are now joining forces with Wageningen University and Research Centre to develop measures to reduce plumage damage.

Ban brought forward 3 years

The ban on beak trimming has been introduced three years earlier than planned. It cannot be put in place any earlier because the risk of injury by feather pecking is too great.  It is therefore essential for the poultry sector to act on housing, poultry management and on breeding chickens with a more sociable nature. 
Minister Dijksma said “We must improve the welfare of poultry, but in a responsible manner. By introducing a ban earlier we would be creating bloodbaths in poultry sheds.  Businesses will now have the time to develop workable solutions to prevent pecking.”

Call for European ban

To maintain the competitive position of the Netherlands Minister Dijksma will call for a European ban on these procedures in poultry. New legislation for animal welfare is soon to be discussed in Brussels. In addition to the ban on beak trimming, from 2015 a ban will be introduced on spur trimming and removal of combs.