12,000 chickens die in factory farm fire, taking 2019 animal death toll to 15,000

The fire caused thick smoke. Photo: Brandweer Woudenberg via Twitter

Thousands of chickens were killed in a fire at a factory farm in Renswoude in Gelderland on Tuesday afternoon.

The barn was home to some 16,000 birds and at least 12,000 are thought to have been killed. Locals had been warned to keep their doors and windows closed because of the thick smoke.

Last year 122,000 animals died in fires at factory farms in the Netherlands but the government said it would not force farmers to take further measures to prevent fires breaking out because of the cost of the investment.

The current measures do not include compulsory lightning conductors and sprinkler systems.

So far this year there have been seven fires, including the Renswoude blaze and some 15,000 animals have died, animal rights lobby group Wakker Dier said.

Johan Verbeek, the owner of the Renswoude farm, said he had done all he could to make the barn fire-proof. ‘But nothing rules out fire and an accident can always happen,’ he told the AD. ‘Believe me, as a farmer, this is the last thing you want.’

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