In the Netherlands, increasingly more animals are being transported in force ventilated or climate controlled trucks, which are completely closed. These trucks look modern, but do they really improve animal welfare? Eyes on Animals investigated this question for Wakker Dier – a Dutch non-profit organization.
From interviews with truck drivers, truck-design companies and managers from slaughterplants we heard varied stories about these closed trucks. Some truck drivers claim closed trucks are better for animal welfare – as it protects animals from heat, rain or cold. According to others it is in fact the opposite, as mechanical fans often lack power. Therefore it gets warm and humid inside the truck, which in turn causes the animals to become stressed, restless and sometimes even leads to suffocation, especially when conditions are cramped, there is an increased number of tiers and during hot weather.
Eyes on Animals concludes that more research needs to be done on climate controlled and forced ventilation trucks, paying particular attention to the air quality and the reliability of the backup ventilation and alarm systems, especially as these trucks are becoming more and more popular. It is important that the authorities are vigilant when approving and inspecting these trucks. Further, we want special training for truck drivers using closed trucks as they contain more technical equipment and therefore require additional skills. Closed trucks also often lack (enough) access doors, and often these doors are too small for people to climb through, therefore animals in need cannot be accessed to be given help, which is a legal requirement under 1/2005. Authorities should be strict on this. This summer Eyes on Animals will put extra focus on closed trucks during our inspections. We will share our findings on our website.
Read our report here (only available in Dutch): Geklimatiseerde veewagens