More animals killed in barn fires, insurers want government to act
Insurer’s association Verbond van Verzekeraars is urging the government to make haste with projected factory farm fire safety legislation because thousands of animals are being killed in fires every year.
In total, 158,000 birds and animals were killed in the 43 barn fires recorded in 2022, of which 19 involved fatalities, the association said in its annual risk monitor.
The number one cause of barn fires is faulty electrical installations due to bad maintenance, the association said. It urged the government to make haste with draft legislation to put a legal limit on the number of animals per unit in new and renovated barns as well as an obligatory annual fire safety check.
In around 20 cases the exact cause of the fire could not be established. ‘Barn fires are often huge and extremely destructive. We do know what the most likely causes are and although they can’t always be prevented farmers can do much to keep the risks as small as possible by checking their installations,’ a spokesman for the association said.
An additional risk is that farms are often in isolated areas and fire services take a relatively long time to get there, animal welfare organisation Wakker Dier said.
It is campaigning for more far-reaching measures, such as fire retardant walls, fire detection sprinkler systems and an investigation into ways animals can get outside in case of fire.
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