Hungry for game birds this Christmas? Avoid supermarket quail, says NGO

Animal rights organization Wakker Dier is calling on those considering quail for Christmas dinner to rather reconsider, or at least avoid buying these game birds at Albert Heijn and Jumbo. The two Dutch supermarket chains are selling quail without an animal welfare quality mark this year, the organization said.

According to the organization, the biggest problem in quail farming is the lack of regulation. In Europe, there is no legal upper limit on the number of quail that can be kept per square meter. Quail are flighty birds that naturally like to hide in the fields or undergrowth. But farmed quails are usually kept in bare stables without shelter, comparable to the stables used for factory farmed chickens, Wakker Dier said. 

Quail with an animal welfare quality label  - the French "Label Rouge" - are packed at most 62 quails per square meter. The Label Rouge states that stables must have daylight and quails must be able to go outside from 30 days. 

"A lucky quail gets a postcard worth of space," Anne Hillhorst of Wakker Dier said. "Opt for a friendly Christmas and do not eat quail."