Party for the Animals presents a ten-point plan against horror condi­tions in the livestock industry

18 February 2020

A ten-point plan against abuse in the Dutch livestock industry and slaughterhouses. The Dutch Party for the Animals presented it last week in the Dutch Lower House to the Minister of Agriculture. This happened after more horror practices in the meat sector were unveiled. “We cannot wait any longer. If we do not intervene now, it means that we knowingly choose for countless animals to be seriously abused and that sick meat ends up in the shelves”, group chairman Esther Ouwehand explained.

“Live animals killed and skinned in Dutch slaughterhouses”, “Vets of the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) allow seriously ill animals to be exported to slaughterhouses in Belgium and Germany”. Increasingly more abuse situations in the Dutch livestock and meat industry have been coming to light for decades. Not through the reports drawn up by the Dutch NVWA - the Dutch supervisory authority that has the legal duty to protect animals; they want us to believe that animal welfare and hygiene in slaughterhouses and cattle farms are fine. But publications by investigative journalists and undercover footage are showing us the true story.

Publications show us a disturbing picture of a disrobed and failing supervisory authority. There is a large group of vets refusing to take action against the abuse. There also is a group of vets that is ordered by its own NVWA supervisors not to enforce. And then there is a group that hits animals personally. Vets who do want to intervene when they see how animals are abused, have to face aggression and intimidation. Whistle-blowers are transferred or persecuted.

Pandora's box
In response to the most recent footage showing how pigs are abused, the Dutch Minister of Agriculture said that she will take a more fundamental look at the system of high production at a price as low as possible. Over 642 million animals are slaughtered in the Netherlands a year. This is twenty slaughters per second on average: a slaughter speed that is too high for checking proper compliance with regulations. With its ten-point plan the Party for the Animals hands ten concrete proposals to the minister.

Ouwehand: “It is time to open Pandora’s box of the livestock and meat industry and to put it in the limelight. Having a more fundamental look at the position of hundreds of millions of animals in the livestock industry can only be done in full daylight.

All ten points in a row:

  1. Reduce slaughter speeds, ban perverse incentives and extreme efficiency requirements.
  2. Slaughter fewer animals. This automatically means less animal suffering.
  3. Reform the NVWA supervisory authority:
    a) animal abuse should mean immediate persecution.
    b) failing to enforce the rules or consciously cooperating with the poisoned culture should lead to dismissal.
  4. Severe punishments in case of violation: closure of slaughterhouse plus disqualification.
  5. Intensify supervision.
  6. Tighten the law.
  7. Perform a parliamentary inquiry into recurrent abuse.
  8. Take away the NVWA from the Ministry of Agriculture and appoint one state secretary at the Ministry of Justice for reinforcing animal welfare.
  9. Ban misleading communications on and advertisements for animal products.
  10. Transparency: slaughtering is never animal-friendly, show consumers at least what is happening. For example, by releasing camera surveillance footage.