Agriculture Minister wants stricter rules for slaughterhouses
Minister Piet Adema of Agriculture is planning stricter rules for slaughterhouses in the Netherlands. These include mandatory surveillance with smart cameras, a ban on electroshock weapons, and a more stringent enforcement system that will close a slaughterhouse after three violations. Adema is determined to improve animal welfare in the Dutch meat industry, he said in a letter to parliament, Trouw reports.
According to the Minister, too many things are going wrong in slaughterhouses at the moment. He will automatically reject all requests from slaughterhouses to speed up their slaughtering process for the time being. “I want the sector to show first that it can guarantee animal welfare under the current circumstances,” he said.
Former Agriculture Minister Carola Schouten first slowed down the slaughter process in Dutch slaughterhouses in 2020 at the insistence of parliament. The measure was initially due to the high number of coronavirus infections in the slaughterhouses but then kept in force after repeated reports of animal abuse and neglect.
Adema doesn’t have sufficient confidence in the sector to reverse Schouten’s decision, he said in his letter to parliament. He referred to recent reports by the regulator NVWA. “This concerns, for example, pigs that end up alive in the scalding tank in the slaughterhouse and animals that are abused when they are driven up,” the Minister said. “Recent images of abuses reinforce my conviction that the sector will first have to take steps in this area.”
The Minister wants to improve the supervision of slaughterhouses. “The business community is currently not taking sufficient responsibility throughout the chain,” he said. The NVWA increased controls in January and is currently training 13 veterinarians from other EU countries to supervise the slaughter process in the Netherlands. Adema is also preparing an amendment to the law to make camera surveillance in slaughterhouses mandatory. He also wants to use smart cameras to sound the alarm if an animal is conscious during slaughter.
The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament, will discuss Adema’s proposals on Wednesday.