Sunday 27 November 2022

70 vets call for action on factory farming and animal welfare

Pigs on a factory farm. Photo:

A group of 70 vets have signed a letter in Tuesday’s NRC calling for action to improve the lot of animals in the ‘cheap, bulk production’ factory farming system.

The vets were reacting to this weekend’s investigation into the way the food and product safety board had ignored problems at several abattoirs and moved the vet who raised the issues to a new job.

‘The shocking conditions described by our brave colleague in Dutch abattoirs are not isolated instances,’ the letter states.

‘Animals are adapted to production methods, not visa versa,’ the letter goes on. ‘Animals are kept in confined conditions without distractions… and then have to undergo mutilations for their own safety.’

‘Cows are separated from calves at birth, pigs are kept in cages, their piglets’ tails are amputated, calves and lambs have their horns cut off and chicken’s beaks are clipped.’


‘A certain percentage of dead arrivals at the abattoir is considered normal,’ the vets write.

As one of the leading countries in terms of meat and dairy produce, the Netherlands should also ead the way in terms of animal welfare and sustainability, the letter continues. ‘We need a fundamental change in the way factory farming is organised,’ the letter concludes.

The NRC notes that several vets who had originally signed the letter withdrew their support because they were concerned about possible consequences of such public backing.

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