The rules for transporting ‘orange pigs’ to the slaughterhouse cause more animal suffering than prevent it. This group of animals falls under the rules of special livestock transport because they require extra attention. This may be because they have an umbilical hernia or because the tail is slightly damaged.
The lack of a unanimous assessment of ‘transport under conditions’ by the Dutch Food and Consumer Safety Authority (NVWA) leads to uncertainty among livestock transporters. The pig must be at the heart of the applicable transport rules, the guidelines. In summary, it was the porn-k language’s claim about the guidelines for pig transport, which the knowledge center VKON from Den Ham in Overijssel held on Monday night.
Since the guidelines came into force in November 2021, the Central Organization for the Meat Sector, LTO Nederland, the Producers Organization Pig Farming (POV), Saveetra and Vee & Logistiek Nederland have discussed a workable solution for ‘conditional transport’.
Forced method can not work
NVWA implemented the current working method and enforcement on April 4th. Six weeks later, cattle transporters and pig breeders indicate that this forced method is useless. ‘The diversity among’ orange pigs ‘is great, and this also applies to the way in which the veterinarians at NVWA assess them,’ says Gerrit van Wijk from Erik Nijsink Livestock and pig trade from Wierden in Overijssel.
NVWA’s sanction policy is strict. After four warnings, a carrier must pay: 1,500 euros for the first time, 3,000 euros the second time, 4,500 euros the third time, and so on. This means that drivers and transporters do not take unnecessary risks, and that pigs more often do not go to the slaughterhouse. It is then up to the pig breeder to get them on the next transport or to have them killed.
Adjust load factor
This is a problem for pig breeders. They believe that pigs with a minor remark should be able to go to the slaughterhouse with the herd. They do not find it a problem that the load factor of the cabin should be 80 percent. Pigs with a minor remark are healthy, have always functioned normally in the herd and now that they are ready for slaughter, they would not at the slaughterhouse.
‘It hurts me when I have to spray beautiful piglets on a farm just because they have umbilical hernia. I find it disgusting to kill animals on the basis of cosmetic abnormalities’, responded Johan Hulzing from Coöperatie Varkensartsen from Harbrinkhoek in Overijssel.
Van Wijk calls the current situation useless. ‘We run into a wall that seems impenetrable. I know there are carriers where drivers resign because they can not handle the current pressure and the risk of making the wrong decision. ‘
Put the drivers’ hearts under the belt
Bart Camps of Camps Varkenshandel bv from Oostrum in Limburg therefore prepared a letter two weeks ago, which drivers can hand in to the NVWA veterinarian on arrival at the slaughterhouse. Organizations have tried to arrange things from above. “It’s a way of doing it from scratch.” The letter also aims to encourage drivers and also serves a legal purpose: liability.
The purpose of the letter is that a driver has assessed the pigs for transportability in the best possible way and in good faith. The letter has been widely shared in the livestock transport world for about ten days and handed over to the NVWA veterinarian on duty at unloading. NVWA has not yet responded to this. “If the guidelines do not go off the table, we can stop.”
Focus on herd animals
The discussion on the guidelines between livestock transporters, livestock breeders and NVWA is at a dead end. Under the Pig-t eel, it was suggested in the discussions that pigs as herd animals should be at the center. The pig experiences more stress from being alone or separated in a compartment than when the animal stays in the herd.
‘Transport does not open an umbilical hernia and does not make a damaged tail worse. Then the animal’s well-being is in danger ‘, says vet Hulzing. The discussion of ‘conditional transport’ is not only a problem in pig breeding but also in milk production.