Albert Heijn wins animal rights group's "liar liar" award

Albert Heijn's serrano ham wins Wakker Dier's liar, liar award for 2017
Albert Heijn's serrano ham wins Wakker Dier's liar, liar award for 2017Photo: Wakker Dier

Albert Heijn won animal rights organization Wakker Dier's "liar, liar award" for 2017 with an misleading article about the supermarket chain's serrano ham. An article about the ham in an April issue of Allerhande showed a picture of pigs in a meadow, while the Albert Heijn serrano ham pigs spend their entire lives in a small stable surrounded by their own poop, according to the organization, RTL Nieuws reports.

The liar, liar is an "award" Wakker Dier - an organization focused on the welfare of animals in the food industry - hands out annually for the most misleading advertisement about the welfare of animals used in companies' products. Wakker Dier nominates five advertisements, and the public chooses the most misleading one.

This year a total of 19 thousand people voted for the five nominees. Albert Heijn won very convincingly with 7,500 votes. According to Wakker Dier, the pigs in Albert Heijn's house brand serrano ham don't wander happily through Spanish meadows, but are locked in. "They live in a closed stable without straw and have less space than Dutch pigs", the organization said. 

Albert Heijn also got a second nomination for a television advertisement in which they called their bred salmon "very happy fish". In reality, the salmon live in a net with thousands of their peers - about five fish in a cubic meter of water, according to Wakker Dier.

In a reaction Albert Heijn said that the liar liar award does "absolutely no right to all the efforts" the company puts into animal welfare, according to RTL. The company acknowledged that the photo gave an incorrect presentation. According to Albert Heijn, this was a mistake which the company regrets. The supermarket chain promised to adjust any future advertisements.

Albert Heijn is furious about the way Wakker Dier brought its wrongs to public attention. According to the company, Albert Heijn plays a leading role in improving living conditions for animals. The company will no longer cooperate with Wakker Dier, RTL reports.

Dairy brand Almhof was also nominated for television commercials that show cows grazing in a meadow, while most of the cows they use are stabled. Rio Mare was nominated for talking about "well-being" on its tuna packaging, while the fish are in fact frozen alive. And Friesche Vlag was nominated for its half-and-half coffee milk, which does not in fact consist 50 percent of plant product, but 96 percent of milk. Rio Mare promised to change its tuna packaging, and Friesche Vlag promised to come up with a new name for their product.

Wakker Dier started the liar, liar awards in 2009. The animal rights and food watchdog organization considers it to be a success. "More and more, the nominees stop their dishonest animal advertisements, or better yet, adjust their products." the organization said.