Vee & Logistiek Nederland: The new transport rules miss the point

Since April 4, the NVWA has imposed strict rules on the safety of transporting pigs. Where previously there were no fines for improper transportation of “orange” animals, now this is happening. The rules were not well received.

© Henk Reswick Photography

Inspection veterinarians of the Dutch Consumer Product and Food Safety Authority (NVWA) strictly enforce “pig transport under conditions”. If these conditions are not met, this falls under a Class D violation.

Notification and written confirmation of the first three results will be provided. The fourth notice is followed by a formal written warning and the fifth with a fine. The violations will continue for two years. Despite the minor infraction, the fines are significant.

Head of Helma Lodders of Vee & Logistiek Nederland commented: “The fines are strangely high and stacked too. The first fine is 1,500 euros and increases by this amount each time. This does not look at individual drivers, but at the whole company.”

Animal suffering and a lot of frustration due to the new transportation rules

In addition, there are criticisms of the NVWA’s intervention policy. In the event of three violations within two years, the carrier receives a message that the company will be subject to stricter control in the event of a subsequent violation. This can lead to the revocation of the transfer permit.

On top of that, there’s a double fine, Luders points out. Because both the carrier and the pig breeder will be fined. Bugs accumulate so quickly that the end is looming for the conveyor. On April 29, four carriers have already received a third verbal communication.

difficult for drivers

Carriage enforcement also affects drivers. It creates stress and some of them are no longer able to work. Co-owner Geert Thijssen of Thijssen Drost: “For the past year and a half, three drivers we didn’t expect have stopped working for us. They’ve enjoyed the work, but the current rules are causing frustration and sadness. It’s hard for the driver to tell if the pig is ‘orange’.

Thijssen has also heard from colleagues that many drivers are looking for other work. This is worrying. If there are not enough drivers, pigs cannot be transported. This is a problem for the entire series. Everything stops without transportation. This is not the only problem. The rules were designed to improve animal welfare, but the way they are now enforced is counterproductive.

The carrier describes that an “orange” pig had been living with a “green” pig in the same barn for four months. But it must be separated from other pigs for transportation. “There is often only one “orange” pig in a group and this animal must be kept alone in a cabin during transportation. This causes a lot of stress. In addition, more space is not always positive. The pig can easily swing in all directions in an empty cabin.

Lead separation pig
Separating the “orange” and “green” pigs during transport causes unnecessary stress. © Henk Reswick Photography

The rules also affect other topics. Pig Producers Organization (POV) reports that the rules are backfiring on many of the topics they have been working hard on for years. Like, for example, vital pigs. “Pig transportability guidelines encourage euthanasia”.

POV also indicates that pig farmers no longer dare to engage in such operations as “long tails”. They are afraid of minor marks on their animals due to damage to un-anchored tails. The representative says that preparation for future legislation is at stake.

In addition, the “orange” pigs often remain on the farm. A separate compartment is needed for such a pig. By leaving this animal behind, there is more room for the “green” pigs. “Because the ‘orange’ pigs are left behind, pigs are euthanized which can still be used as food,” Thijsen says.

Sustainability at risk

The dwellings also report that leaving animals behind is a problem. The policy calls for more sustainable use of animals, so use them for production for as long as possible. But the older the animal, the greater the risk of age-related diseases. These animals are not transported for fear of a fine. It often happens that veterinarians do not believe that the pig is sick enough to be euthanized, leaving the pig farmer with the animal.

Vee & Logistiek Nederland Chairman Nederland says the various parties are working hard to find a suitable solution. In addition to its own foundation, it refers to POV, a sub-association of professional livestock transporters Saveetra, the Central Organization for the Meat Sector and LTO Nederland. They are in discussion with NVWA and are asking for attention to this issue in other ways.

Housing: We invite spokespersons for political parties, among other things, to consult with our supporters and show what people are experiencing via social media. We also get legal advice and there are several lawsuits pending. We are working on a workable solution. For us, this is like this: if there is an “orange” animal in the “green” group, it will be detected by the NVWA inspector, but he will not issue a fine.

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

“Orange” pig: transportation subject to conditions

Pigs with minor notes, such as minor damage or a closed umbilical hernia, are described in the ‘Practicability’ guidelines as ‘orange’ animals. These animals can be transported under certain conditions. But in practice, it is difficult to determine the exact condition of the pig.

In order to determine whether a pig falls into the “orange” category, the general condition of the animal, the special circumstances and duration of transportation, the exacerbation of illness or injury during transportation and the risk of rejection at the slaughterhouse must be taken into account.

In order to allow the transportation of an “orange” pig, various conditions must be met. For example, transportation may not cause pain or suffering. In addition, the pig should be transported separately from animals without suspension. It is allowed to transport “orange” pigs together, but this cabin may not be supplemented with pigs without suspension. The minimum surface area for each “orange” pig was increased by 20 percent.

In addition, the pig must be the last to enter the loading cart, be marked with a colored sign and included in the portability list. This form must be present during the entire transportation and also at the destination.

A Food Chain Information (VKI) form can also be used in place of this list, if it contains all information from the portability list.

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