Friday 21 February 2020

Food inspectors failed to act over abattoir abuse and sick pigs, NRC claims

Pigs on a factory farm. Photo: Depositphotos

The Dutch food safety authority NVWA failed to act on reports of abuse at several Dutch abattoirs, preferring instead to move the vet who reported the problems to a new job, the NRC said at the weekend.

MPs from the Christian Democratic party and the pro-animal PvdD have called on the government to explain why no action was taken at the abattoirs criticised by the vet, describing his claims as ‘shocking’, the paper said.

The vet at the centre of the allegations filmed some of the abuse and is now home on ‘gardening leave’. He declined to comment on the NRC’s report.

However, his films and reports include instances of goats being killed without being properly stunned and of sick pigs and chickens being cleared for human consumption. He also recorded how chicken fillets which fell on the abattoir floor were put back on the production line against hygiene rules.

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Jan Meijer, the head of the abattoir inspectorate told the NRC the vet’s allegations of abuse at two slaughterhouses had not been properly dealt with.

‘What happened is absolutely wrong,’ he told the paper after viewing the videos. Asked why the meat from diseased pigs had not been recalled, Meijer said: ‘by the time the investigation had concluded, it had been eaten.’

Asked why the supervising vets had made false claims about the health of the animals, Meijer said ‘we had a good talk to him’.

Meijer said improvements have been made in the supervision of slaughterhouses and that he is generally happy, although not about everying. Abattoirs for ‘red meat’ are doing better than poultry because the poultry sector is under more pressure, economically speaking, he said.

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