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How are things going with… Wakker Dier Foundation | Issue Award winner 2013

In 2013, the Wakker Dier Foundation received the Issue Award for their 'Stop the Plofkip' campaign. In this first interview from the series 'How is it going...' we speak to Anne Hillhorst – manager of the Wakker Dier campaign team – about this successful initiative and other recent activities of the Wakker Dier Foundation, such as the Heat Stress action plan.

What has happened to your 'Stop the Plofkip' initiative since winning the Issue Award?

“We won the award in 2013. In January 2016, Albert Heijn, Jumbo and Lidl had stopped selling poppy chicken completely, the rest of the supermarkets followed a year later. They did not switch to chicken in accordance with our requirement with one Better Life star from the Animal Protection Society, but every supermarket came up with its own chicken - better than the flop chicken, worse than the star chicken. Large fast food chains such as McDonalds and KFC still sell pop chicken to this day.”

How current is the issue at the moment?

“Plofkip remains topical because the problem is far from being eradicated. In the Netherlands, we still produce approximately 250 million chickens per year, mainly intended for export and the catering industry. Moreover, today's supermarket chicken does not have a good life at all. Still wearing out they spend their short lives in an overcrowded stable.”

To what extent are you still actively putting this issue on the agenda?

“We want supermarkets to switch to chicken with at least one Better Life star from the Animal Protection Society. This is a minimum standard whereby the chickens can move freely and get outside air and daylight. We are now running a campaign against the supermarket chicken with a bad life, the AH chicken. In that campaign we ask Albert Heijn and consumers to skip the AH chicken.”

What new initiatives are you currently working on?

“We are currently committed to combating the problems surrounding heat stress. Our summers are getting hotter and livestock farming is not designed for this. For example, most sheep are kept in the scorching hot pasture at tropical temperatures without any form of shade. We want this to be banned. We have therefore presented a petition to Minister Schouten (LNV) with almost 80,000 signatures. That shows how much this subject is alive.”

Which initiative from the past year do you think should win the 2021 Issue Award?

“Although it is not a Dutch initiative, I don't think anyone can ignore Black Lives Matter this year. It is impressive what this phenomenon has achieved worldwide.”

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