Esther Ouwehand wants Minister Carola Schouten of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality to announce a complete ban on live animal transport during days with heatwave conditions. Temperatures in the Netherlands rase to 35°C (95°F) and higher in the Netherlands last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
The applicable ‘National Plan for Livestock Transport at Extreme Temperatures’, drafted by the sector itself, believes that temperatures from 35°C (95°F) are too extreme to transport animals in an animal-friendly way. Yet the plan still offers possibilities to continue those transports as long as temperatures on site are still below 35°C (95°F) . In addition, any delays en route (such as tailbacks or diversions) and problems at the slaughterhouse can lead to the animals being stuck in the trailer longer than anticipated, while the outside temperature may now have risen to 35°C (95°F) or higher. Maintaining the ‘35 degrees rule’ in this way is quite laborious and, moreover, it was previously shown by watchful animal rights activists that NVWA (Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority) inspectors on site do not intervene anyway.
“A complete ban on live animal transport can be maintained more easily than this plan,” says Ouwehand in Parliamentary questions to the Minister. There is also less risk that people start bending the rules than when the NVWA has to find out - for each individual animal transport - about the local outside temperature when the animals were put on transport, the local outside temperature en route, and the temperature when the animals, locked up in trailers, were waiting at the slaughterhouse.
The Party for the Animals has been advocating for a long time on the need for a broader National Heat Plan for animals. Animals can already start suffering from heat stress at temperatures of 25 to 27°C (77-81°F) and must structurally be given more space in their stables, an open-air run with shelter, and should no longer be transported with those temperatures. Even after last year's extreme heat, Minister Schouten rejected the heat plan for animals that Esther Ouwehand proposed. A new proposal submitted by Ouwehand this summer was rejected last month by a majority of the Parliament. The Party for the Animals continues to press for structural measures to protect animals against the heat.