Today Eyes on Animals, together with the Dierenbescherming, met with the NVWA and Ministry of LNV to discuss our recent report about what steps are urgently needed to combat the suffering caused when animals are transported during heat waves and our recent observations. Details are still in the works and we will publish them as soon as they are confirmed. The NVWA is , within its limited capacity, doing its best and the Ministry of Agriculture (LNV) is taking this subject very seriously.
Eyes on Animals carried out inspections during this weeks’ heatwave and what hinders faster progress is the KDS. The KDS is a private company that carries out the mandatory inspections of the carcasses at red meat abattoirs. Unfortunately, they are not willing or able to offer their services at night, despite the owners of some red-meat slaughterhouses and the NVWA being prepared to slaughter animals at night to avoid that animals be loaded and transported during the hot hours of the daytime. Without the KDSbeing willing, the NVWA and slaughterhouse managers are stuck and cannot change to night shifts. As well, still too many slaughterhouses and transport companies are not taking enough responsibility to combat animal suffering.
We see slaughterhouses that have small lairages and insist on still slaughtering a high number of animals, which means animals have to wait 1- 2 hours on board parked-trucks before their lairage has room to unload the animals. These waiting times are never desirable, but definitely not during extreme weather. These plants should reduce their slaughter volume immediately, at least on hot days, or have invested in larger lairage space. We also see slaughterhouses with only one or two unloading ramps, also causing waiting lines. Many still do not even have industrial fans to create wind for the animals stuck on board parked trucks. Livestock transport companies also have to act more carefully. Many are not using trucks with automatic fans or water systems, and still load too many animals, preventing them from being able to evaporate their heat. We are working hard at keeping this topic alive so that more improvements get in place, and are regularly in the field checking on the animals and talking with the truck drivers and slaughterhouses. The NVWA isresponsible for random checks of non-compliance and sanctioning, but first and foremost the industry itself must act responsibly and professionally.
We would like to thank the NVWA and Ministry, and all industry stakeholders that have made effective changes, for helping find a solution. We hope by working strongly together, more animal suffering can be decreased.