The heat protocol, that has been produced by the industry, fails to protect pigs from heat stress and is regularly being violated. During our inspections Eyes on Animals witnessed many pigs suffering from heat stress in the queues waiting outside the slaughterhouses. Many pigs arrived when the temperature already exceeded 35 degrees. This means the industry fails to comply with their own rules as according to their heat protocol transport above 35 degrees is not allowed.
Slaughterhouses are often dated. While the volume of pigs being slaughtered has increased over the years, the majority of lairages to accommodate the additional numbers have stayed small, resulting in long queues forming outside the slaughterhouses due to lack of space to unload the animals. During the heat this leads to huge suffering. Some slaughterhouses have parking places where trucks can wait in the shade but not all slaughterhouses provide this facility. When fans are available, there are often not enough to provide adequate airflow, or the fans are simply too small. Eyes on animals is of the opinion that slaughterhouses need to update their facilities to service the increased volume of animals going to slaughter and to provide conditions to alleviate suffering.
Additionally, Eyes on Animals believes transport above 29 degrees is unacceptable (refer to the temperature-humidity index below which concludes that pigs are in danger above 29 degrees). To prevent huge suffering transport above 29 degrees should be forbidden and night shifts should be put into operation. Many slaughterhouses and drivers are willing to work during the night, but rules from the NVWA (Dutch Food Authority) often prevent this from happening. Eyes on Animals will be contacting them to discuss the issues raised from our inspections.