In order to combat farm animals from suffering from the heat during transport in the summer, livestock transport companies and slaughterhouses must each do their part. The transport companies need to reduce the loading densities, avoid long journeys and avoid having animals on board during the peak temperatures of the day if they know they will have to sit and wait. But the slaughterhouses also have to do their part by providing the infrastructure to handle any risks. For this reason Eyes on Animals met with the managers of Weidemark pig slaughterhouse in Soegel, Germany.
Every week 70,000 pigs are slaughtered at this plant, many of the pigs coming from the Netherlands. Due to the enormous volume, the logistics are hard to manage precisely, leading to many livestock trucks having to wait for sometimes even 2 hours and more before they can unload the pigs into the lairages. During this time, the temperature inside the trucks can become unacceptable for the living pigs on board. For this reason we asked Weidemark to invest in more infrastructure. They have now purchased industrial mobile fans (similar to the one in this photo, taken at Van Rooi export station) to set up along the parked livestock trucks, in order to guarantee a constant flow of wind to the animals and have started plans for a parking area for trucks along a shady tree-line near the entrance of their plant. Here there would be room for 10 livestock trucks to park in the shade where there is fresh wind.
We are very pleased that Weidemark has agreed to take these two measures for now, but will continue to insist that large slaughterhouses increase their lairage capacity, so that live animals do not have to wait on board parked trucks.