Dutch banks invest billions in battery farm chickens

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Large Dutch banks invested billions in the meat industry over the past years, and a large part of that money went to companies where animal welfare is not in order, according to a new report by Eerlijke Bankwijzer. These include companies that sell battery farm chickens, keep their sows locked up in cages, or slaughter animals in controversial ways, RTL Nieuws reports.

The Eerlijke Bankwijzer, or Fair Bank Guide, looks at whether Dutch banks invest their money responsibly. Amnesty International, FNV, Mileudefensie and Oxfam Novib, among others, contribute to it.

Between 2012 and 2017 the three largest Dutch banks invested at least 8.8 billion euros into companies where the animal welfare standards are far below par, according to the report. Rabobank in particular is a big financier for this type of company, accounting for 6.8 billion euros of the total amount. 

Last year Rabobank invested a billion euros into American meat giant Tyson Foods, for example. The American company was recently discredited by a video made by environmentalists showing chickens treated in horrid ways on a farm affiliated with the company. Tyson Foods reports that it broke ties with the poultry farm in question.

In a reaction to the Eerlijke Bankwijzer report, Rabobank said that animal welfare is important for the bank. "We can not comment on individual customers", a spokesperson said to RTL Nieuws. "But our policy is that in the case of abuses, we first enter into discussion with customers about the demands we place on animal welfare and try to persuade the customer to change the policy or circumstances."

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