Sunday 02 April 2023

20,000 pigs die in latest massive Dutch factory farm fire

Pigs on a factory farm. Photo:

Some 20,000 pigs have died in a fire at a factory farm near the Gelderland village of Erichem, in what is the second major farm fire this month.

The fire broke out in the four two-storey barns where the pigs were kept and firemen were unable to save any of the animals, news agency ANP said. Earlier this month nearly 80,000 chickens died in another factory farm fire.

Animal welfare lobby group Wakker Dier says never before have so many pigs died in a single blaze.

The organisation keeps a running tally of factory farm fire deaths which shows nearly 200,000 animals have been killed so far this year. That means 2017 is likely to be the worst year for factory farm fires since 2011, when 319,000 pigs and chickens were killed.

Although higher safety standards were introduced in 2014, many older barns are still very unsafe, the organisation says. In addition, new barns do not have to have proper sprinkler systems or smoke alarms.

The pro-animal PvdD introduced a motion to parliament at the beginning of July calling for better fire safety at factory farms, but it failed to win enough support. The three Christian parties and two Liberal parties D66 and VVD voted against the measure.

PvdD parliamentarian Esther Ouwehand said her party will renew its efforts to win improvements in factory farm legislation after the recess.

Update: 31.7.2017: It later transpired that the owner of the factory farm had been banned from keeping pigs in Germany because of the poor conditions he was keeping the animals in and had been fined several times in the Netherlands.

He is also believed to own several pig farms in Hungary. According to the NRC, he is the biggest pig farmer in Europe.

Locals have also complained for years about the smell from the Erichem farm.

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