We were so concerned about the EBRD’s investments in factory farming that we decided to take a look for ourselves. We wanted to know more about the effect that their investments were having on farm animals, on communities and on the countryside.
Trouble in Turkey
And the results were shocking. Take an EBRD-supported factory farm in Turkey that we visited.
Check out our investigation film, which shows what the EBRD’s money (your money!) is funding in Turkey.
Brutal animal handling
The farm produces 80 million meat chickens per year and has a licence to export to countries all over the world, including the UK. We documented live chickens being tossed into plastic crates and then stacked on to a truck destined for the slaughterhouse. The workers gave the animals such little consideration that they used a cage full of live chickens as a step throughout the loading process. Some of the cages even fell off the truck onto the ground, causing birds’ heads and limbs to fly out.
Possible environmental damage
We also discovered possible environmental damage; in a river just downstream of the EBRD-funded operation, Compassion in World Farming investigators found the waters awash with chicken feathers, chicken body parts and gloves. They reported that the stench was overpowering.
To make matters even worse, the company appears to be marketing itself as a free-range farming operation, using cute, cartoon-like images of chickens roaming free on pasture to promote its company and products. These images couldn’t be further from the truth.
Personal stories of farmageddon
What we discovered in Turkey is no isolated incident. In Ukraine, we spoke with communities about life living near and, in some cases, working in EBRD-funded factory farms. At both locations, the same stories arose; pollution problems; water supplies threatened; a pervasive stench from lagoons filled with manure; poor treatment of workers.
We spoke to Maria Vasylivna Antoniv, a local resident and retired school teacher, whose family has lived in the village of Sivka-Vojnylivska for generations. She said that “when slurry spreading is carried out the smell is so strong it’s almost unbearable...”
After witnessing firsthand the problems created by an established factory farm in nearby Luka, Maria took matters into her own hands. She called a series of public meetings and, as word spread, more and more villagers joined the campaign. After a long battle, the company dropped its plans for an industrial farm in Sivka-Vojnylivska.
Despite this win, industrial farming is expanding in nearby villages. Campaigners like Maria fear that this will continue when opposition is less well organised.
Natalia Kolomiets from the National Ecological Centre of Ukraine said: “People here are used to farming and dealing with farm animals on a daily basis but it is only when these industrial farms are actually constructed that they realise what kind of enterprises they are ... The environment and the future of my people is being jeopardised.”
Banking on brutality
The EBRD has agreed to pump tens of millions of Euros into the farms that we investigated, as well as other factory farming operations. Our investigation suggests that, taking the EBRD’s own definition of socially responsible investment, its investments in factory farming fail on every count. Factory farming is a fundamentally flawed method of food production. We call on the EBRD to live up to its promise to “follow the highest standards of corporate governance and sustainable development” by ceasing its involvement in the funding of factory farms.
Read our full investigation report here.
Crates of birds are stacked in darkness and await loading.
As the crates were thrown onto the truck, some birds’ limbs fell out of the gaps in the crates.
Throughout filming, workers used crates of live birds as a loading step.
Chicken feet were seen floating in the river near the farm.
Ukrainian community campaigner, Maria Vasylivna Antoniv.