COMMON PRESS RELEASE // Aoste opts for improved chicken welfare in close cooperation with GAIA
Brussels, 21 June 2019 – Based on its close cooperation with GAIA, the meat processing company Aoste has decided to gradually switch to the 1-star ‘Beter Leven Keurmerk’ (Better Life Label) for all its poultry products. ‘Plofkippen’ (a Dutch catchword referring to fast growing breeds of meat chickens) will no longer be used. The chickens get access to daylight, more space, fresh straw, and grain, antibiotic use is significantly reduced, and the animals have more space. Aoste is the first Belgian company to take a more animal-friendly step for chickens.
In June 2019, the transition of Aoste’s Natural Chicken and Chicken Curry will be the first step in a process that will eventually lead to all their poultry products being manufactured under the Beter Leven Keurmerk (BLK)* by no later than 31 December 2020.
Anyone wishing to sell via the BLK’s recognised label must comply with several conditions. For example, they must use a slower-growing breed of chicken, the number of chickens per square metre must be drastically reduced, it must be possible for the chickens to go outside via a covered free range area, and the transport to the slaughterhouse can’t exceed 3 hours, etc.
“With this, Aoste resolutely opts for improved animal welfare for the chickens,” says GAIA director Ann De Greef. “It’s a choice that we can only applaud, of course. Consumers can now choose a more animal-friendly product in the supermarket. We enthusiastically welcome Aoste’s changeover and hope, of course, to even see three stars in the future.”
Thomas De Boes, Marketing Manager Innovation at Aoste, explains, “Animal welfare is a priority for Aoste. Since last year, the entire range of cooked hams has been awarded the label BLK (Better Life Label). Today we are pleased to take the first step towards a more animal-friendly poultry range thanks to our close cooperation with GAIA. Every step we take is a conscious choice in the right direction. It is our ambition to process all Aoste products in a more animal-friendly manner by 2025."
GAIA has been campaigning against industrial chicken farms for years. In addition to promoting plant-based alternatives, GAIA also aims to work towards a more animal-friendly world for chickens through the retail sector and by raising consumer awareness.
*The Dutch Society for Protection of Animals has developed a welfare label to support animal-friendly products. It consists of the Dutch Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals logo featuring the words ‘Beter Leven’ (Better Life). The Beter Leven label appears on products that have been produced with animal welfare in mind. The more stars there are, the more animal welfare was improved.
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