NVWA: Over 450 Public Reports of Heat Stress in Animals | news item

news item | 2022-10-05 | 14:52

Last summer, the Dutch Consumer Product and Food Safety Authority received a total of 453 public reports on heat stress in animals. Most of them (427) were worried about the lack of shade and drinking water for animals in the pastures. After assessing the seriousness of the situation and the completeness of the reports, more than 40 percent (189) were submitted for inspection. This resulted in 12 written warnings being issued to prairie animals. Additionally, during the heat period, NVWA carried out 200 animal welfare checks in transit, four of which did not comply with transportation regulations.

picture: ©NVWA

Of all the reports received on heat stress in meadow fauna, 98 cases were evaluated by on-site inspectors. Not all reports were usable or led to the identification of the violation. For example, because precise location data was missing or because the nature and severity could not be sufficiently determined. In 12 cases a violation was established, after which a written warning was given. In another 15 cases, there was an almost complete violation and the situation could be corrected immediately – on the instructions of the inspectors – in order to prevent heat damage.

Insufficient shelter

The twelve violations that were found in the pasture animals were all due to insufficient shelter. This falls under the category of violations in which the animal guard receives a written warning and is asked to correct the situation immediately. If the animal also shows signs of heat stress during the examination, this is a more serious offense and will result in a fine. Of these twelve sins, seven are for sheep, three for horses, and two for oxen.

Prevent suffering from heat

Already in June, the NVWA began to draw the attention of animal breeders and sector organizations to the importance of protecting animals in the meadow from the heat and the National Plan for Moving Livestock in Extreme Temperatures. “Partly due to the repeated warning messages from the NVWA at temperatures above 27 degrees, it has increased vigilance among keepers and the public,” says Chief Inspector Gil de Winter. He is a veterinarian and expert on the subject of the effect of heat on the animal welfare of prairie animals. There were short and longer periods of heat with extremely high temperatures, sometimes exceeding 34 degrees, during which reports from citizens and NGOs may have also contributed to the prevention of heat stress for the animals.

Livestock transportation and slaughterhouses

During heat periods, NVWA has also conducted 200 checks on transport and delivery of animals to slaughterhouses based on the transport regulation. With expected outside temperatures above 33 degrees, the animals could have been delivered to slaughterhouses early at relatively low temperatures. Moreover, at higher temperatures, fewer animals can be transported per cart and the ventilation of the cart and the slaughterhouse stables must be intact. Of the 200 inspections carried out on the transmission, four deficiencies were found, partly related to heat. This resulted in a notification immediately, two written warnings about administrative violations, and a written warning for several non-functioning ventilators. No harm was found for animal welfare.

Heat stress in pigs

There were reports in the media last summer of heat stress in pigs. Pictures from the animal rights organization Eyes on Animals showed that the animals were not taken care of while waiting to be transported to the slaughterhouse. The NVWA was not able to make the same observation during the inspections at the respective slaughterhouse. This is why NVWA requested images and raw data, among other things, to investigate whether an implementation based on this could still be applied. NVWA is enforced by this European Regulation (EC) No. 1/2005 (Transport Regulation) and the National Animal Welfare Rules of the Animals Act.

more information

What does NVWA do in case of heat?

  • Additional checks on farm and slaughterhouse.
  • Additional animal welfare checks on moving livestock if it is warmer than 27 degrees.
  • We are looking at the above rules for pasture, stable and transport that the holder must at least adhere to.
  • If an inspector finds an animal welfare violation, a written warning, remedial action, and/or a fine will follow.

For more information, see the Heat page on the NVWA website: Supervising Animal Welfare in Extreme Temperatures

To prepare a report on farm animal welfare in heat: Report: Farm Animal Care / Neglect (nvwa.nl)

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