It all began in 1997 at the De Hoeve farm in Valkenswaard. The pig farmer decided to enhance the sustainability of the meat at his farm. He set himself stricter standards about the sties, which improved the climate in the sties, made the pigs healthier and the meat of much better quality. This initiative appealed to more and more farmers in the Netherlands, who now number over 300 across the country. They're not mega farms – most of the farms in our chain are family businesses. In these farms the family lives on the same land as the animals.
The Sustainable Pork Value Chain Foundation (Stichting Keten Duurzaam Varkensvlees) is a cooperative venture between Dutch pig farmers, slaughterhouses, wholesalers, butchers, cold meat producers, retailers and caterers. KDV applies clear criteria in terms of the environment, animal welfare and animal health.
As we want to continue to take ambitious steps as a chain, annual audits alone are not enough. The extra step - support - is essential. The chain has three tools by means of which it offers support to participating pig farmers.
The chain provides material, such as jute -nest building materials. In addition, there is a special role for the farm coach. This vet has extensive knowledge of management and can offer individual support where necessary. And as a last benchmark, through the online platform MijnKDV, farmers can see how they perform in relation to the past but also relative to the average in the chain. This helps to provide insight into the company and encourages the farmer to make an extra effort.
In recent years, Sustainable Pork Value Chain (Keten Duurzaam Varkensvlees, KDV) has devoted much effort to reducing antibiotic use in farming. We have made great progress in this regard. Many of our pig farmers use almost no antibiotics at all. Because our farmers are able to maintain the health of their animals so effectively, we introduced pork with an Antibiotic-free Life Guarantee (Antibioticavrij Leven Garantie) in 2016 (with the KDV+ hallmark). Meat with this hallmark comes from pigs that are guaranteed never to have been treated with any type of antibiotic during their lifetime.
Such a hallmark can only be introduced if you can really guarantee compliance with the Antibiotic-free Life Guarantee. That's why KDV invested a great deal of time and energy in developing an effective monitoring process in 2016. This process is now so well established that we are able to bring meat with the Antibiotic-free Life Guarantee to market in 2017.
KDV meat is 100% Dutch. So there are no long animal transports in poor conditions.
We know where the meat comes from and we can trace it. We know our farmers and we work with one regular slaughterhouse and regular wholesalers and butchers.
There is a special role for the farm coach. This vet has extensive knowledge of management and can offer individual support where necessary. This is a unique service in pig farming in the Netherlands.
All our pig farmers work in accordance with the same agreements and their compliance is monitored. So we know exactly what happens to our meat. From the farm to your plate.
Read more about monitoring.