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Dear donors and friends,

The impact of the corona virus is now everywhere. We too have had to postpone inspections and a big conference we were organizing with the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture on better practices. But what is important right now is that everyone takes care of their health to avoid getting, and spreading the virus to those that are weaker. We wish everyone strength during this strange period and hope it will not last long. We are using this time to do office work and to follow what effect this is having on the farm animals too.

Besides this, we have some news to share with you - we are starting to be known as the "chick police"  by the laying hen industry ;-)
Remember a few years ago we exposed how laying hens were being caught and loaded at the end of their laying "career"? Brutal images which motivated us to search for better catching techniques, so that we could realistically get the egg industry players to improve.
We developed a training program on a more humane and upright method of catching hens and started to train commercial catchers in The Netherlands. We then successfully convinced two Dutch egg companies, Rondeel and Kipster, to make the switch. We kept the international egg industry up to date of our progress and this year, a UK egg company expressed interest in what we are doing as did another labelleling system (Demeter). Both are now also considering the switch.

What started as a great but radical idea to reduce suffering is now actually being put into place for more and more hens, here and soon also abroad!

Here are the most recent successful changes we got in place:

Jan 16, 2020 - Catching training, NL

All hens at a Rondeel-owned farm in Barneveld were caught under our supervision by catchers trained by us. 25,000 birds were loaded that night in the more humane way. Birds were held upright, maximum 2 at a time per catcher instead of grabbed by one leg and held upside down, 4-5 per hand.

Jan 22-24, 2020 - Preparing big improvements in the UK

A few months ago, we wrote to an important UK supermarket about our upright method of catching hens. They wrote back saying that they, together with the company they contract to supply them with eggs, were also discussing how to improve the catching. What perfect timing!

They invited us to come out and observe their current situation and help them make changes. We visited them at their headquarters and at night evaluated their current way of catching birds at one of their laying hen farms. We then trained one group of their catchers and then, with them, switched over to the EonA upright method to catch the remaining 8000 hens so they could get first-hand experience.
Not only are they now making plans on switching to the upright method, they are also negotiating with the slaughterhouse a better design for the containers in which the layers are loaded into. And have asked us to come back to teach a second chicken catching company that works for them.

Feb 2, 2020 - Catching training, NL

Catching birds in the more humane upright method is still not mandatory in the biodynamic Demeter egg labelling system. However we are attracting more and more individual egg farmers that are interested in making the switch, particularly Demeter farmers.
On February 2nd we taught the chicken catchers of Demeter farm “Boerveenshof” near Groningen to catch chickens upright and afterwards supervised the upright catching of almost 8,000 birds. The farmer of Boerveenshof was so positively surprised at how much gentler the catching was, and faster than thought to get done, that he afterwards decided to switch to upright catching for all his future birds too. A colleague Demeter farmer, who was also present that evening, decided to join this decision. So there are now two Demeter farmers that from now on will catch all their birds in a much more humane way!
For the environment and ethics, there may be a day when people stop eating eggs, even all animal products, altogether. Until that day, we will remain committed to reducing the suffering of those animals still in production today by getting major changes in place to the design of facilities and handling techniques.

Thanks to your support, we can continue our effort for the chicken and other animals that are suffering in the egg and meat industry.
Help us help the animals
Thank you for your support!
Lesley Moffat
director of Eyes on Animals






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