Vee & Logistiek Nederland: new transport rules miss the point

Since April 4, NVWA has enforced strict rules on transport safety for pigs. Where previously no fines were handed out for incorrect transport of ‘orange’ animals, this is now happening. The rules are not well received.

© Henk Riswick Photography

The inspection veterinarians of the Dutch Food and Consumer Safety Authority (NVWA) strictly enforce “the transport of pigs under conditions”. If these conditions are not met, this falls under a Class D infringement.

A notice and a written confirmation will be given for the first three findings. The fourth observation is followed by an official written warning and the fifth a fine. The violations will last for two years. Despite the minor violation, the fines are significant.

Chairman Helma Lodders from Vee & Logistiek Nederland commented: ‘The fines are bizarrely high and are also stacked. The first fine is 1,500 euros and it is then increased by this amount each time. This does not look at the individual drivers, but at the whole company. ‘

Animal suffering and a lot of frustration due to new transport rules

In addition, there is criticism of NVWA’s own intervention policy. In the event of three infringements in two years, the carrier will be notified that the company will be subject to stricter supervision in the event of a subsequent infringement. This may lead to the withdrawal of the transport permit.

Furthermore, there is a double fine, Lodders informs. Both the carrier and the pig breeder are fined. ‘The errors increase so fast that the end is soon in sight for a carrier. By 29 April, four carriers had already received a third oral request. ‘

Difficult for drivers

Enforcement of transport capability also has an impact on drivers. It creates pressure and some of them are no longer able to work. Co-owner Geert Thijssen in Thijssen Drost: ‘Over the past year and a half, three drivers we had not anticipated have stopped working for us. They enjoyed working, but the current rules cause frustration and sadness. It’s hard for a driver to determine if a pig is’ orange ‘.’

Thijssen also hears from colleagues that many drivers are looking for other work. That’s worrying. “If there are not enough drivers, the pigs cannot be transported. This is a problem for the whole chain. Everything comes to a standstill without transport. ‘ And that’s not the only problem. ‘The rules are designed to improve animal welfare, but the way they are applied now is counterproductive.’

An ‘orange’ pig, describes the carrier, has been living with ‘green’ pigs in the same path for four months. But it must be separated from the other pigs for transport. ‘Often there is only one’ orange ‘pig in the group and this animal must be kept alone in a room during transport. It gives a lot of stress. In addition, more space is not always positive. A pig can easily swing in all directions in an empty room. ‘

Separating 'orange' and 'green' pigs during transport causes unnecessary stress.
Separating ‘orange’ and ‘green’ pigs during transport causes unnecessary stress. © Henk Riswick Photography

The rules also affect other topics. The Producers Organization Pig Farming (POV) reports that the rules are counterproductive on many topics that it has been working hard on for years. Such as vital piglets. ‘Guidelines for the transportability of pigs call for killing.’

POV also notes that pig breeders no longer dare to participate in processes such as ‘long tails’. They are afraid of minor marks on their animals due to damage to released tails. Preparations for future legislation are being jeopardized, the representative said.

In addition, ‘orange’ pigs are often left on the farm. A separate room is needed for such a pig. By leaving this animal there is more room for the ‘green’ pigs. ‘Because’ orange ‘pigs are left behind, pigs that can still be used as food are killed,’ says Thijssen.

Sustainability at risk

Lodders also indicate that it is a problem to leave animals. ‘Politics calls for more sustainable use of animals, so use them for production as long as possible. However, the older the animal, the greater the risk of age-related disorders. These animals are not transported for fear of fines. It often happens that veterinarians do not think that a pig is sick enough to kill, leaving the pig breeder with the animal. ‘

The chairman of Vee & Logistiek Nederland says that various parties are working hard to find a suitable solution. In addition to her own organization, she refers to POV, the industry association for professional transporters within livestock transport Saveetra, the Central Organization for the Meat Sector and LTO Nederland. They are in discussion with NVWA and request attention to this issue in other ways.

Lodders: ‘Among other things, we invite spokespersons for political parties to consult with our supporters and show what people encounter via social media. We also seek legal advice and there are many lawsuits pending. We are working on a workable solution. For us, it is as follows: If there is an ‘orange’ animal in the ‘green’ group, this will be discovered by the NVWA inspector, but he will not issue a fine. ‘

POV indicates that NVWA will evaluate the policy in the fall. ‘But we hope to find a solution before the summer with the other organizations.’

‘Orange’ pig: transport under conditions

Pigs with minor remarks, such as minor injuries or closed umbilical hernia, are described in the ‘Transportability’ guide as ‘orange’ animals. These animals can be transported under certain conditions. But in practice it is difficult to determine exactly what the condition of the pig is.

In order to determine whether a pig falls into the ‘orange’ category, account must be taken of the general condition of the animal, the particular circumstances and duration of transport, the aggravation of the disease or injury during transport and the risk of rejection at the slaughterhouse. Considering.

Therefore, in order to be allowed to transport an ‘orange’ pig, different conditions must be met. For example, the transport must not cause pain or suffering. In addition, the pig must be transported in isolation from the animals without comment. It is allowed to transport ‘orange’ pigs together, but this room must not be supplemented with pigs without comments. The minimum area per. ‘orange’ pig has been increased by 20 percent.

In addition, the pig must be the last to enter the wagon, be marked with a colored mark and be listed on the transport ability list. This form must be present throughout the transport and also at the destination.

The Food Chain Information (VKI) form can also be used instead of this list if it contains all the information from the transport capability list.

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