Chickens: Europe increases welfare regulations step by step

The European Union is progressively tightening the rules for transporting chickens to slaughter in an effort to reduce the number of deaths on the road


Just before a series of improvements to chicken welfare during transport were introduced in 2007, it was estimated that 11 million birds were dying during that last journey every year in Europe – and that was the lowest estimate. On the positive side, this shock statistic kick-started reforms in bird welfare that are still continuing.    

Poultry deaths in transit put the spotlight on transportation practices

Charges have been laid against Maple Lodge Farms, but the company says it takes all reasonable measures to safeguard animal welfare


Clinton-area chicken farmer John Maaskant remembers a fierce winter storm when he was growing up in the 1960s, during which a truckload of chickens got stuck within sight of his family’s farm after leaving for the slaughter plant.

“In those days they really didn’t have adequate tarps,” says Maaskant, who emphasizes he is talking personally and not as a representative of any of the farm organizations he’s on. The truck was trapped in the storm for hours. By the time it got to town six hours later, he recalls, half of the chickens were dead.