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More Humanity towards Animals FOUR PAWS / VIER PFOTEN Live Feather Plucking in Europe: A never-ending story? Marcus Müller EP Intergroup on the Welfare.

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Presentation on theme: "More Humanity towards Animals FOUR PAWS / VIER PFOTEN Live Feather Plucking in Europe: A never-ending story? Marcus Müller EP Intergroup on the Welfare."— Presentation transcript:

1 More Humanity towards Animals FOUR PAWS / VIER PFOTEN Live Feather Plucking in Europe: A never-ending story? Marcus Müller EP Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals Strasburg, 7th April 2011

2 More Humanity towards Animals FOUR PAWS / VIER PFOTEN Live Feather-Plucking in Europe: A never-ending story? What is live feather-plucking:  Live feather plucking is the removal of feathers and down in water fowl, mainly from geese (living animals) during the moult.  When doing so, the expensive downs on the chest and abdomen are plucked in particular.  Live feather plucking, also known as “Mauserrupf” or Harvesting, can result to injuries and in some cases death, because of many reasons which will be explained further on.

3 More Humanity towards Animals FOUR PAWS / VIER PFOTEN Live Feather-Plucking in Europe: A never-ending story? Reasons for injuries and in some cases death: 1) Handling of the animals and transport of livestock 2) Economic live feather-plucking in piecework (workers are payed per animal) 3) Not easily possible to identify them in the course of moulting in flocks and in individual animals 4) Feathers and down can grow again and they can get stuck to the skin 5) Infection and disease which can be spread by employees 6) Panic and stress reactions of geese

4 More Humanity towards Animals FOUR PAWS / VIER PFOTEN Live Feather-Plucking in Europe: A never-ending story? Where does live feather plucking take place?  Live feather-plucking is conducted Europe-wide by so-called feather and plucking brigades. It is mainly practiced in Hungary and Poland.  However live feather-plucking also takes place in Germany, France and other EU Countries with breeding geese stocks.  At the international level geese are plucked in many other countries Focus: Russia, Ukraine, China.

5 More Humanity towards Animals FOUR PAWS / VIER PFOTEN Live Feather-Plucking in Europe: A never-ending story? Why are geese live plucked:  Plucked feathers have a better quality and higher fill power capacity. A goose can be plucked up to 4 times a year and can thus provide a four-fold feather and down yield. The downs can be plucked from the animals of particularly good parts and the downs do not need to be cleaned at high costs.  The plucking of slaughtered animals does not provide an optimal feather quality due to the price pressure in the live feather- plucking sector. This means that the feathers are damaged during the saughter as plucking of slaughtered animals concentrates merely on the quality of the meat.

6 More Humanity towards Animals FOUR PAWS / VIER PFOTEN Live Feather-Plucking in Europe: A never-ending story? Legal situation / problems No controls / no successful legal actions:  Controls of live feather plucking do not take place. Complaints regarding an offense noticed by animal welfare organisations are ceased at once.  Live feather plucking is sponsored by local authorities.

7 More Humanity towards Animals FOUR PAWS / VIER PFOTEN Live Feather-Plucking in Europe: A never-ending story? Spread of epizootic diseases  Fowl diseases are proven to be procrastinated by live feahter- plucking.  The plucking brigades have a massive hygiene deficit and pose a risk to procrastinate epizootic diseases.  FOUR PAWS has documents of fowl veterinarians available, which in terms of drug supply needs, are tailored solely to the live feather-plucking farms/practioners

8 More Humanity towards Animals FOUR PAWS / VIER PFOTEN Live Feather-Plucking in Europe: A never-ending story? Fiscal fraud  A great part of the revenues of the live feather-plucking sector is not taxed. This creates a tradition of illegality and breach of law in the industry, which undermines animal welfare standards, safety at work, it provokes financial crimes, quality manipulation and ends with consumer fraud. Transparency and effective controls are thus impossible! Safety at work  In plucking brigades people work in unworthy conditions which vigorously pose a threat to their health and hence the health of the animals as well. To some extent also minors are employed.

9 More Humanity towards Animals FOUR PAWS / VIER PFOTEN Live Feather-Plucking in Europe: A never-ending story? Who buys the blood downs?  The downs go to Europe, USA and Japan.  Recent research revealed strong relations to Germany. There it was documented that certificates on the origin were obviously falsified. Alleged "not live plucked” logos had to be removed when it turned out that these were unsustainable and based on manipulation.

10 More Humanity towards Animals FOUR PAWS / VIER PFOTEN Live Feather-Plucking in Europe: A never-ending story? Solution by cooperation with producers and retailers  The entire retail sector and major wholesalers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland refuse the meat of animals that were live feather-plucked.  Downs of live feather plucked animals are officially rejected by many companies. All major geese producers in Europe call for a ban of the practice to remove downs and feathers from living animals. This request was joint by many leading European corporate groups, such as companies as Tchibo, Otto Group, Schwarz Gruppe (Lidl, Kaufland), SPAR, the bed industry and Politics.

11 More Humanity towards Animals FOUR PAWS / VIER PFOTEN Live Feather-Plucking in Europe: A never-ending story? Combing is NOT an alternative  The idea of combing geese proposed by EFSA is considered as unfeasible from the entire industry and leading experts while in terms of efficiency and economy it is characterized as absurd.  However, combing constitutes to a legitimation of the removal of feathers and downs from living animals. This automatically leads to the usual and efficient practice of live feather-plucking, due to the impossibility to control the situation and the tradition to make maximum use of the animal.  The problems of the retail market and of consumers are thereby only intensified and the confidence in the EU, in terms of clear decision-making in such matters, is massively affected.

12 More Humanity towards Animals FOUR PAWS / VIER PFOTEN Live Feather-Plucking in Europe: A never-ending story? Case Study I  AMI is the largest geese producer in Poland.  AMI produces 1.6 million meat geese. AMI phased out already in the 1990s any kind of live feather-plucking of meat geese. The ban of live feather-plucking of breeding geese followed in  Since then AMI has had very positive experiences. Animal losses, and drug costs have dropped dramatically, and the egg production has gone up considerably. Today more than 200 business operations produce for AMI in absence of the live feather-plucking practice.  Geese breeders confirmed to FOUR PAWS that the decision is considered positively today, after some initial skepticism. The small- scale production could, in this way, be maintained to the greatest possible extent. The geese would still live in free-range circumstances and with posibility of free movement.

13 More Humanity towards Animals FOUR PAWS / VIER PFOTEN Live Feather-Plucking in Europe: A never-ending story? Case Study II  Tranzit Ker is the second biggest producer of fattened geese and ducks in Hungary. Up until 2008 about fattened geese and breeding animals were plucked up to three times a year at Tranzit Ker. In 2008, the company ceased the entire practice of live feather-plucking after protests by FOUR PAWS and the German retail sector.  Due to the animal welfare-friendly position they achieved, Tranzit Ker could take over market shares of its competitor Hungerit in Central Europe, which still adheres to live feather plucking and force feeding. Since then the company is expanding, and since 2010 it has its own wholesale slaughterhouse.

14 More Humanity towards Animals FOUR PAWS / VIER PFOTEN Live Feather-Plucking in Europe: A never-ending story? Case Study II  The breeders are checked by internal and external inspections and since 2008, no case of live feather-plucking could be observed. The announced problems with flying feathers during the moult could be mostly prevented or do not occur.  The deficits caused by losses of revenue by the renunciation of the practice of live feather-plucking could be compensated by the gaining of more power in the market, due to an animal welfare- friendly position. There were no significant job losses.  In 2009 the market leader of the geese breeding sector in Hungary, the Bacs Tak Group, followed the good example of Tranzit Ker.

15 More Humanity towards Animals Thank you for your attention!


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