Liar Liar: Five organizations nominated for misleading animal welfare claims
Animal welfare organization Wakker Dier announced this year’s nominees for its annual Liar Liar Award. According to Wakker Dier, Van Dobben, the young farmers’ association of the Netherlands, PLUS, Jumbo, and the goat sector all made untrue claims about animal welfare this year.
Van Dobben claims it uses “honest ingredients” on its packaging. “Striking choice of words for meat from calves that are fattened as quickly as possible without a mother, on a grid. Or just has honest: factory farm chicken. A bred animal living in overcrowded stables and ready for the croquette in just six weeks,” Wakker Dier said.
The young farmers’ association of the Netherlands released a commercial with the slogan “farmers take good care of their cows,” featuring healthy cows enjoying the meadow. “Far too rosy a picture,” Wakker Dier said. “A quarter of cows never go outside, and many cows are sick.”
PLUS labeled its veal as “farmer pride,” but it is nothing to be proud of, Wakker Dier said. The supermarket claims that the calves can “roam free” and “determine themselves whether they want to stand, walk, lie down, play, or sleep.” That may be true. But it happens “in a closed stable and in their own feces, with only 1.8 square meters of living space per calf. The only time the calves come out is on their way to slaughter.”
Jumbo boasts on its website that its tilapia is grown in an environment where “as much natural behavior as possible is simulated.” But really, they are grown at a high density - over 33 fish per cubic meter - in a polluted lake, Wakker Dier said. “If they survive these ‘natural’ conditions, they are often slaughtered without sedation.”
The goat sector launched a campaign called “discover the goat,” in which it speaks of “optimal welfare” for Dutch goats. “Remarkable, because there is a lot wrong in the sector. Many baby goats die within two weeks, partly due to poor care. Their mothers never go outside and are never allowed to climb, a basic need for a goat,” Wakker Dier said. “Their life is far from optimal.”
With its annual Liar Liar Award, Wakker Dier wants to jokingly draw attention to real problems with animal welfare in the Dutch food sector. “The election has proved effective. Every year, some of the candidates announce they’ll improve their products or stop the sweet talk,” Wakker Dier said.
Netherlands residents can vote for their favorite liar here from today. Wakker Dier will announce the winner on September 6.