New cases of cruel slaughterhouse practices revealed: RTL

Pigs on a factory farm. Photo:
Pigs on a factory farm. Photo:

A number of slaughterhouses in the Netherlands are still causing unnecessary suffering to pigs despite pledges from agriculture minister to curb the practice, RTL Nieuws reports.

RTL said that between January 2018 and July 2019 several new instances had come to light in which pigs were placed in vats of very hot water while still alive. The broadcaster bases its claim on reports requested from Dutch health and safety watchdog NVWA by pig protection organisation Varkens in Nood.

In the reports, NVWA inspectors said they had personally witnessed six cases in which live pigs were placed in the vats and tried to swim. They also reported seeing a live pig dumped on a pile of bodies and pigs being beaten by workers.

The practice of immersing live pigs in vats of hot water first came to light in Belgium in 2017. In 2018 RTL requested Dutch inspection reports and found that as many as 19 Dutch slaughterhouses had been fined 48 times over animal welfare issues, including placing and drowning live pigs in very hot water.

One particular slaughterhouse had been fined 11 times in the space of six months in 2018, RTL said at the time.

Dutch farm minister Carola Schouten said at the time she would tighten up the rules on abattoir closures and increase fines for animal cruelty following revelations about conditions in Dutch slaughterhouses.

NVWA inspectors are a permanent fixture at the 21 big slaughterhouses in the Netherlands but smaller ones are only checked at intervals. It is not clear at which of the slaughterhouses the latest cases were found to have occurred.

Varkens in Nood spokesperson Frederieke Schouten said all slaughterhouses need more supervision. ‘The only solution are cameras at every slaughter line. A slaughterhouse that does not keep to the rules more than once will have to be closed immediately.’

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