“Currently, so much aggression has built up that for example, practically no new facilities can be built to produce poultry,” said Helmut Born, secretary general of the German Farmers' Association (DBV). “But this is our most important production sector in Germany.”
He said the DBV wanted to hold discussions with animal rights groups on how to improve conditions.
The poultry industry has difficulty matching the increasing demand for its products with widespread disgust at how it operates.
One poultry farm was burned down in Sprötze, south of Hamburg, this July. It is being rebuilt, with the addition of an area for visitors to come and see what happens inside.
“The burned down farms in Sprötze will have a glass visitors area,” said Born. “We invite anyone who wishes to come and see the chicken stalls. We want to clearly show people what we do. We have nothing to hide there.”
The DBV is calling for the newly-introduced small group cages for egg-laying hens to be brought in worldwide, in order to prevent the German industry from being disadvantaged.
“If one really wants animal protection, one must at least achieve more unity worldwide,” said Born.
The law which came into force at the start of the year means all German producers have to keep their hens in small group cages. Animal rights groups contest this leaves each animal less space than a piece of A4 paper.