Today, during one of the hottest days with an average temperature of 34℃, we visited the pig slaughterhouse Compaxo in Zevenaar to check on the pigs being transported and to observe the implementation of the Dutch heat protocol.
The heat protocol goes into effect when temperatures are expected to reach 27℃ or more during 4 consecutive days. This protocol will be implemented on the first of this series of days. As well as when only one day of 30℃ or more is expected. The number of animals loaded is reduced and when temperatures reach 35℃ or more, no animals are allowed to be transported.
We are accompanied by 2 journalists of the Dutch TV show “Hart van Nederland” in order to bring attention to the animal transport during heat waves. Watch the broadcast HERE.
The livestock trucks are parked on the road next to a line of trees, which offers plenty of shade. Yet, it is very difficult to cool down the inside of the trucks when the outside temperatures and humidity are high. Last year we had advised to place large industrial fans on the side of the trucks, but unfortunately this is impossible here due to lack of a power supply. Compaxo does have large fans in the waiting area where the pigs are unloaded.
Pigs suffer a lot due to heat stress and get no relief from moving air while the trucks are parked. Some compartments are still too crowded, others are less crowded so these pigs are able to release some of their body heat into their surroundings areas and therefore suffer less.
We will continue to fight for a better heat protocol and adjusted work schedule at the slaughterhouses so the slaughter can take place at night instead of during the hottest time of the day. Also, the lairage of the slaughterhouse needs to increase in size so the animals can be unloaded immediately instead of having to wait their turn while remaining in the trucks in the heat.