Some 2,100 pigs have suffocated on a factory farm in Maarheeze in Noord-Brabant province after a power cut halted air supplies to their barn.
The Dutch food safety board NVWA says it has started an investigation into the incident, news of which broke on the fourth day of record breaking temperatures in the Netherlands.
Farmer Peter van der Linden told the Eindhovens Dagblad the alarm on his mobile phone went off on Tuesday evening. ‘We immediately went to see what was going on, but when we got to the barn, lots of the pigs were already dead. I saw a lot die. It was terrible, very emotional,’ he said.
On Thursday, 4,000 chickens died on a poultry farm in Limburg because of technical problems with the ventilation system. This incident, too, is being investigated, as is another involving the death of hundreds of pigs in Zuid-Holland.
Animal rights campaigners have also raised the alarm about the way animals are being transported to slaughterhouses in the high temperatures.
On Thursday Animal Rights released video footage of pigs gasping for air on a transport lorry. A spokesman for the NVWA said no rules appeared to have been broken.
Nevertheless, the pro-animal Partij voor de Dieren has asked the minister to look into the ventilation problems which have affected so many farms and the way animals are being moved around the country in such high temperatures.
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