Farmers oppose annual safety checks to stop barn fires: AD

Protestors call for action on factory farm fires. Photo: Alfons Spoler via Wikimedia Commons

Farmers organisation LTO is opposed to the annual fire safety check which is due to be made compulsory from next year in an effort to stamp out barn fires, the AD reported on Wednesday.

Instead, LTO is calling for five-yearly checks, saying this is a more realistic option because of the cost and the shortage of inspectors, the AD said.

Last year over 130,000 animals died in factory farm fires, and animal rights organisation Wakker Dier says the total has reached 28,000 this year. Last week, 3,000 pigs died in a blaze in Reusel and at the beginning of April 9,000 pigs were killed in a fire on a farm in Sint-Oedenrode. 

Wakker Dier says the LTO’s standpoint is extremely disappointing and highlights a lack of willingness to tackle the barn fire problem. 

The government too could do more, spokesman Anne Hilhorst said, such as making sure farmers have enough water on site to put out a fire, install sprinkler systems and fire alarms.  

“In addition, there are still no rules on the number of animals which can be kept in the closed part of the barn and many companies do not have any option for them to escape if necessary,” Hilhorst said. 

The cabinet wants to introduce the annual check, and a second check of the electrical installations every three to five years, depending on the size of the farm. 

Insurance companies too want to see tougher controls, the AD reported. 

Two years ago, the Dutch safety board published a critical report about barn fires, saying the issue was not a priority with either the government or the sector. 

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