50,000 chickens die in factory farm fire, second barn saved

Photo: Veiligheidsregio Gelderland-Zuid

Some 50,000 chickens have been killed in a fire at a factory farm in Puiflijk in Gelderland, the local safety board has confirmed.

The barn where the chickens were kept burst into flames on Tuesday night and spread quickly because of the strong winds. Officials are now trying to determine what caused the blaze. 

A second barn, which is also home to some 50,000 birds, escaped the fire after it was sprayed with water. The two barns were separated by a fireproof wall but there were no sprinklers because they are not required by law. 

Barn fires are a major problem in the Dutch intensive farming sector, killing 130,000 animals in 2022.

Last October, the Dutch safety board said recommendations made in 2021 to reduce the number of deadly barn fires in the Netherlands have largely been ignored.

In May 2023, farming organisation LTO came out against the annual fire safety check which is due to be made compulsory from 2024. Instead, LTO is calling for five-yearly checks, saying this is a more realistic option because of the cost and the shortage of inspectors.

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