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Organic label calls for return to 'real farming'
Photo: DPA

Organic label calls for return to 'real farming'

Published: 28 Mar 2013 11:44 GMT+01:00
Updated: 28 Mar 2013 11:44 GMT+01:00

One of Germany's biggest organic farming associations has called for its largest egg-producer member to split itself into small units so that chickens which are supposed to be kept in humane, free-range conditions actually are.

Only eggs produced at farm-type, not industrial, operations should in the future come under the Naturland organic badge, the organisation has decided, the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper reported this week.

A recent scandal which saw exposure of chickens being kept in horrible conditions but their eggs being sold as organic has prompted Naturland to demand that only companies which are like farms can be members.

Television reporters for the ARD broadcaster filmed scenes of horror at the Wiesengold Landei firm which was until then the leading producer of organic-labelled eggs - and part of which was certified as organic by Naturland.

The video filmed at a Wiesengold Landei production hall showed dead, obviously sick and dying chickens in terrible conditions in a dark hall.

Owner Heinrich Tiemann admitted the chickens had been kept in untenable conditions and promised to sack those workers responsible. The sick chickens had been slaughtered, he said.

Now Naturland said it was determined to reverse the process by which market demand for large numbers of eggs at low prices push producers into industrial style production.

From now on, it said, it would only grant its label to eggs produced on farms - meaning Tiemann will have to break up his empire and sell the pieces to individual operators in order to keep the Naturland label.

Naturland spokesman Carsten Veller said the encroaching system where investors had significant influence over practicalities had to be replaced with a more traditional scenario where independent farmers were personally responsible for the condition of their animals.

Talks between Naturland and Tiemann were continuing, while Naturland's Veller admitted that should the huge company be split up, there would be suddenly be a large demand for independent chicken farmers. "That will be an enormous job," he said.

This is part of the ARD documentary - in German. Many of the images are disturbing.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:25 March 28, 2013 by ichbines
All this is too little too late for me. Even organic chickens are boiled alive while they are hung upside down kicking and screaming for their lives to remove their feathers. Seeing earthings in youtube and another video where the so called 'organic' animals were executed in an equally atrocious manner as in earthlings was enough to cure me of all my desire for animal flesh for the rest of my life.
13:39 March 28, 2013 by Bigfoot76
It sure would be great if we could bring back the family farm concept. Better for the environment, farmers, health, and the animals....until they arrive on my plate for dinner.
15:18 March 28, 2013 by RosieRosebud
Oh my God!

I just watched some of the recommended videos on YouTube. They are even worse than ones I have previously seen. I will never again eat factory produced meat, eggs, or milk. I rarely do now, but this rarely do will now be never do. This is disgusting and barbaric.

I grew up on a small hobby farm and can say with absolute certainty that our pigs, cows and chickens were NEVER treated inhumanely, with the exception of castration of little pigs.

I feel sick to my stomach after watching the videos.

This is horrific. It is humanity at its most barbaric and vile state.

I did pass on this article and the videos to everyone on my email list because I think they also do not know the extent of the cruelty done to animals.

I also will NEVER EVER AGAIN buy anything made in CHINA. I will try to find what I need at second hand stores etc. until the day I die I will do without made in CHINA.

Please watch the videos about how the CHINESE treat cats and dogs and other animals with fur. I have a number of dogs that needed new homes and am absolutely unable to comprehend the violence done to these loving beings.
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