Animal welfare in the food industry – Netherlands and Taiwan forum

On March 3rd 2022, for the second time the Netherlands Office Taipei organized a hybrid Netherlands-Taiwan forum on Animal welfare in the food industry, focusing on lessons learnt from animal welfare practices in agriculture and future cooperation in the supply chain with the key players involved. 

Beeld: ©SEO-LAN

Animal welfare in the food industry – Netherlands and Taiwan forum

According to the investigation of Welfare Quality Network, most European consumers find the welfare of economic animals is paramount. In October 2020, a sub-group on animal welfare labeling was established within the EU Platform on Animal Welfare; nowadays, it is a new trend to consume animal welfare products around the globe.

The Netherlands is the second-largest agricultural exporter in the world. The livestock industry has played an important role and takes over 50% of the farming structure. Government, livestock farmers, and the food processing industry want to make animal husbandry as sustainable and animal friendly as possible.
In Taiwan, the “friendly livestock farming” policy started in 2014, regulation of laying hen and pigs had been established. In recent years, through the efforts made by industry and animal protection organizations, “free the battery farmed laying hen” and encourage “cage-free eggs” campaign, Taiwanese consumers started to be aware of animal welfare.

On March 3rd, 2022, Netherlands Office Taipei and Environment & Animal Society of Taiwan (EAST) held the “Animal welfare in the food industry – Netherlands and Taiwan forum.” It was a hybrid event with representatives from the local government, industry, and retail in Taipei, while the Dutch speakers joined online. The event started with the opening remarks made by the Representative Mr. Guido Tielman and Agricultural Director Mrs. Gelare Nader. The speakers included Mrs. Marilyn SU, Carrefour Corporate Sustainability Director, Mrs. Yu-Ming Chen, Deputy Director of EAST, Mr. Joe Yang, Taiwan dealer of Meyn Food Processing Technology, Mrs. Gemma Willemsen, Strategic corporate advisor, and Dr. Brigitte Goossens, Policy Officer from Dutch Society for the Protection of Animals, Dr. Bert Urlings from VION, and Mrs. Sussane Vonk, manager team knowledge from Vencomatic group.

Many topics were presented and discussed in this interactive session, including humane slaughter of agriculture animals, how to succeed with aviary systems, promotion of non-caged eggs (by Carrefour Foundation), success of the “Better Life” label in the Netherlands, story of Taiwan’s first EAST-certified milk, and market demand for more animal welfare products. The almost 80 participants in the meeting room in Taipei took the opportunity at the end of the session and asked many in-depth questions during the dedicated Q&A time.

Most of the speakers had one common message: they are working on animal welfare alone, but together with farmers (who strive to improve the animal welfare standards in their farms), providing consumers with the products that they can. It is also an opportunity to develop further and help the industry evolve to the next level of animal welfare. “Everyone deserves the best, and making eating better should be accessible to everyone.” As Mrs. Marilyn Su mentioned in her presentation, now green supply for animal-friendly is only available to Carrefour, but sooner or later, all brands will need turn green. This is the new trend in Taiwan in the recent time and is expected to stay.