Today, we had a meeting with VION pig slaughterhouse in Boxtel. We requested the meeting because of the welfare problems that occurred last weeks during the hot weather. We would like to know Vion’s plans going forward and provide them with our own suggestions to avoid repeat suffering:
- Fewer pigs arriving at the slaughterhouse, or better still, no pigs arriving at the slaughterhouse during extreme hot days. Unfortunately, we know the latter will not happen, but we think it is important to keep this in the conversation.
- Since 2016 we have been asking for an expansion of the lairage; to allow more pigs to get some proper rest and cool down when inside, instead of waiting on board stationary trucks. From our understanding planning approval for the expansion is not achievable due to the Municipality’s planning rules. This is very disappointing so, we must now concentrate on improvements, that are achievable.
- We would like to see a bigger canopy outside, preferably (next to the already existing big fans) with a cold water misting system and more fans. From our visits to other slaughterhouse we have seen that this can help lower the temperature approximately 4 degrees Celsius. VION is not very enthusiastic about introducing a misting system; they claim by wetting the road this lowers the temperature by 4 degrees Celsius. After some insistence, VION has agreed to think about this system and will do more research. Also, VION will seriously think about increasing the size of the canopy, to provide additional trucks to park up under the shade , During peak hours on hot days, we suggest only 4 trucks are allowed per hour, instead of the current 6. This provides a larger buffer in case something goes wrong, such as problems with transport or a malfunction in the slaughterhouse. But we still think 4 is too many.
- We would like those trucks that are unable to enter the property, to be instructed to keep driving around until they are able to enter the property. Keeping the truck moving is more efficient at keeping the temperature down in the truck compared to standing in the shade.
VION has instructed an employee to patrol the surrounding area and instruct those drivers, who are parked up to drive around to provide air flow through the trailers. We proposed VION have a logo on their patrol car, so drivers can see that VION is checking the area for stationary trucks. VION thought this was a good idea so who knows!
Our conversation with Vion was long and intense, but was constructive. We agreed that Vion will update us on the ideas discussed. We would like to thank VION for meeting us.