Day: December 23, 2021

Belgium: GAIA Investigation – Turkey Farms In Flanders: Dire Poverty.


See video footage here:

All photos from our animal friends at GAIA, Belgium.

22 December 2021


GAIA reveals once again the sordid state of Flemish turkey farms with a brand-new video footage, shot in November 2021. The footage shows thousands of turkeys crowded together, severely weakened, crippled, injured and dying; and even corpses in an advanced state of decomposition.

The situation is exactly the same as when GAIA went to three turkey farms in 2019. The intensive farming of turkeys for meat is still completely out of order and respect for animal welfare is totally absent. How is this possible? The reason is simple: there are no specific legal standards for turkey farms. This must change immediately. “In the turkey farms we visited, the situation is so bad that they must be closed down,” insists Ann De Greef, General Manager of GAIA.

Belgium still does not have specific legislation to protect the welfare of turkeys. For example, there is no clear legal limit concerning stocking density: breeders therefore determine for themselves the number of turkeys they wish to cram into a henhouse. “It is practically impossible to squeeze even more turkeys together, because hardly any animals would survive and the death rate is already so high,” says Ann De Greef.

The appalling conditions our investigation team found in the turkey farms we visited shows what the absence of concrete standards leads to. We can’t just settle for minimum standards that make little difference to the well-being of turkeys

Ann De Greef, General Manager, GAIA

GAIA therefore demands strict regulations that will set the bar very high to make a real difference and put an end to the recently exposed abuses.

State of play

There are currently around 25 intensive turkey farms in Flanders. GAIA filmed the living conditions of turkeys on four farms (Casteele turkey farm in Heuvelland, Lavens turkey farm in Wervik, a third in Lichtervelde and a fourth in Lendelede). It is important to note that the Casteele turkey farm in Heuvelland belongs to the president of the Flemish Association of Turkey Breeders: the images of its operations give an idea of ​​the state of play of the sector.

The situation as we discovered it in the four farms visited is terrible

Many turkeys crowded to the point where no additional animals can be added, stocking density taken to the extreme; numerous turkeys with necrotic tissue on their foreheads and hindquarters as a result of pecking, necrotic tissue on the ischium, elbow and other parts of the body, turkeys with bedsores, heavily soiled plumage (by faeces) and tangled, heavily soiled abdominal area, various decomposed and undecomposed carcasses, black scabs on bare skin caused by contact excoriation on a bony protrusion, severely lame turkeys, sick, weak and dying birds unable to stand on their feet in soaked litter, soiled with urine and faeces, rotten, turkeys with bony protrusions, birds with skin sores and heavily infected subcutaneous tissue, with gangrenous scabs on the scapula, severely weakened turkeys unable to reach the watering hole (starving and thirsty), several carcasses gnawed by one or more cats near the boot storage area (we saw a cat who was able to access the carcasses and feed on them); a basin filled with filthy and disgusting water, stagnant water near where a carcass was found; a large number of turkeys with cut beaks, etc. 

Turkeys live in their own faeces and those of their fellows, in overcrowded barns, injured due to pecking behaviour which is due, among other things, to a hierarchy disturbed by the excessive number of crowded animals. As in 2019, GAIA observed appalling necrosis (necrotic skin where pecking wounds were inflicted) on the heads and flanks of many turkeys.

GAIA demands strict standards that meet the behavioural needs of turkeys

GAIA therefore calls for very strict legal standards for the breeding of turkeys, which meet the natural behavioural needs of the animals. Stocking densities should be much lower, animals should be able to roam outdoors, perches should be adequate and sufficient, the use of slower growing breeds should be made compulsory, bedding should be dry and sufficient enrichment should be provided (such as straw bales to peck).

Disgusting scandal

As the breed used in intensive turkey breeding is selected for rapid growth, turkeys grow so fast that many suffer from lameness. These animals can die of hunger and thirst because they can no longer reach the watering hole and the feeder. Birds are also unable to clean their plumage, a vital need. “The current intensive farming of turkeys in Flanders is a crying shame,” says Ann De Greef. “The whole system is still a disgusting mockery of the concept of animal welfare, rotten through and through. The situation in Flemish turkey farms is totally unacceptable. There is an urgent need to adopt standards. Concrete, genuinely strict and animal-oriented legal regulations that will effectively protect turkey welfare must be a top priority, otherwise it would be better to stop and no longer breed meat turkeys in Flanders.”

Basic principles of animal welfare and welfare

The veterinarian François Sivine, who analysed the images, speaks of general lack of hygiene and a deplorable quality of litter. He calls the “infirmary” (the place where some animals are kept in isolation) “unbelievable”: the litter on the ground is filthy and soiled with faeces and soaked in ammonia. The average morbidity (disease rate) is “excessive”. Sivine draws a damning observation:

The management of these facilities and their hygiene, as well as in the individual monitoring of animals, is totally unprofessional. This is pure negation of any notion of animal welfare. The behaviour of those responsible for the farms in question is in every way contrary to the most elementary principles of animal protection and welfare

François Sivine, Veterinarian

And Wallonia?

The Walloon Government recently adopted at first reading a draft decree relating to the welfare of turkeys on farms (the intensive / industrial type does not yet exist in the Walloon region). However, the Walloon Minister for Animal Welfare, Céline Tellier, and her colleagues preferred not to follow the recommendations of the experts of the Walloon Council for Animal Welfare who proposed to ensure a density in each henhouse of maximum 30 kg/m2 for females and 36 kg/m2 for males, which corresponds to 3 females per m2 and 2 males per m2. The draft decree provides for 42 kg/m2 for females (4 per m2) and 48 kg/m2 for males (3 per m2). “Obviously, the interests of certain lobbies weigh more in the balance than ensuring a level of decent animal welfare,” remarks Ann De Greef. GAIA, just like the Walloon Union for Animal Welfare and the Francophone Federation of Shelters for Horses and Farm animals for that matter, ask Céline Tellier and the other ministers of the Walloon Government to amend the text for the passage in second reading.

Read more at source


We cant change all the world, but when it comes to animal abuse, we will have a bloody good try !

Regards Mark

How WWF becomes a traitor to the animals


The Christmas 🎄clock is ticking. And with it the question: What should we eat?

If you want meat, then please organic from the region or game from the area. We have a guide for conscious meat consumption.

Please read:…

Photo: WWF

The WWF advises you to buy meat consciously and recommends that you choose meat, the production of which has as little impact on the environment as possible.

This basically includes meat that has been produced according to the criteria of the EU organic seal, the organic cultivation associations and the Neuland production association, as well as so-called “pasture meat”, which comes from animals that have been on the pasture all year round.

The main criteria for “good” meat are:

– No synthetic nitrogen fertilizers are used for the production of the animal feed. A material and energy cycle that is as closed as possible should be aimed for.

– No synthetic pesticides are used in the production of the animal feed.

– The use of genetically modified forage plants for the production of animal feed is prohibited.

– The animals were kept animal-friendly. This includes, among other things, that the animals have sufficient space for movement throughout the year and that they are given access to exercise or grazing all year round. Fully slatted floors are prohibited.

– Painful interventions on animals are only carried out with anesthesia or pain treatment. In addition, the usual interventions in conventional animal husbandry, such as cutting off the tails, pinching the teeth in pig breeding and docking the beaks in laying hen husbandry, are prohibited.

– The use of conventional medication is only permitted in exceptional cases. The administration of antibiotics as fattening aid or preventive medication is prohibited. The use of synthetic substances that promote growth or increase production is also prohibited.

– Cattle, sheep and other ruminants spend a lot of time in the pasture and their feed consists largely of green forage (grass, hay, silage, clover). The meat is known as pasture meat.

-The live transport of livestock does not exceed four hours.

Our answer..WWF and animal consumers have signed a tacit agreement: We lie to you – We let ourselves be deceived.
This has advantages for both sides: Undisturbed maximization of donations against a clear conscience.

Organic attitude

With this clever organic philosophy, the product – meat – can be saved elegantly and, above all, “ecologically” on morally safe grounds using arguments: Meat from animals that had a happy life!
Meat from animals that lived in the wild until their death is simply the ideal solution!

But behind the organic-lying fairy tale of beautiful words – “organic”, “eco”, “respect” – and beautiful pictures – on the packaging and in the advertising – there is pure horror, pure horror: absolute lawlessness of animals, absolute ruthlessness of their tormentors.

Organic attitude

A company that works according to “organic” and “eco” guidelines is not an idyllic farm with a few happy animals, but here too you will find the same factory farming with hundreds, thousands and tens of thousands of animals as in the “conventional” ” Area.
The desolate life of the so-called “eco-animals” is consistently propagated as “species-appropriate”: the “happy animals” are “gently transported” and treated “humanely”.
Because that makes the conscience easier.

Organic attitude

The reality: breeding sows in the crate, lethargic calves without mothers and far and wide no green meadow.
Tethered dairy cows, fattening pigs in defecated stalls, “organic chickens” that are just as torn as their female companions in barn housing.

Meat, milk and egg producers here in Germany who, under the eyes of the “German Animal Welfare Association”, are committed to “animal welfare”, “limits” animal husbandry in the affiliated companies to a “manageable” 10,000 (!) laying hens 6000 broiler chickens, 2000 broiler ducks, geese and turkeys per farm, as well as 650 fattening pigs or 500 fattening pigs plus associated breeding sows.

Organic attitude

A fattening pig weighing 100 kg does not become “happier” because it is given 2.3 square meters of space as a so-called “organic pig” instead of 0.65 square meters (“conventional husbandry”).

Such an “organic pig” also has no right to actual free run in the country and, like its conspecifics in the “conventional husbandry”, usually never sees a meadow.

“Eco” and “Bio” are not a happy pig that can splash around in the water to their heart’s content.

“Eco” and “organic” deceives and simulates a healthy world of livestock that does not exist.

Organic attitude

What is the meaning and purpose of “organic” then?

The same sense and purpose that Rip and fraudulent labeling always has: to calm the conscience of the consumer and to pull double and triple the money out of his pocket.
Not more.

Conclusion: “Bio” = cruelty to animals, a huge consumer deception and easy game for the criminal companies who like to cavort under the same dirty blanket with the ministries of agriculture.

We forgot another winner: an organization that loudly claims to be one for animal rights, but turns out to be nothing other than the loudspeaker of the food mafia.

In order to be an ethical and decent human being, one must be vegan. There is no gray area here. You are either vegan or you are complicit in the war on animals.

Even WWF must know that too!

Venus Reichenbach