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Tailor-made transport guidelines in instances of maximum warmth

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On top of heat protocols some transporters come up with additional tools to prevent heat stress. Photo: Hans Prinsen

In recent times, poultry farmers in Europe have been confronted with a variety of warmth waves. Taking local weather developments in to account, it is extremely seemingly that this can repeat itself sooner or later. That’s the reason within the Netherlands and in Belgium there was a must agree on some efficient pointers with the authorities and throughout the poultry sector concerning the transport of poultry on days with excessive warmth. The intention is to ensure the welfare of poultry and to minimise losses. Throughout extremely popular days, particular protocols come into impact, particular measures are taken as animal welfare receives additional consideration from each the business and the nationwide meals and product security authorities.

EU regulation on transport was not enough

A European regulation, EC Regulation 1/2005, addresses the laws concerning the transport of livestock. “This is a framework law applicable to all European member states on the transport of livestock in times of extreme heat,” explains Ann Truyen, of the Belgian Affiliation of Industrial Poultry Slaughterhouses. “However, this law is quite generic. That is why we decided to implement this protocol specifically designed for broilers on their way to the slaughterhouse. In this protocol, the legal provisions are described more practically. The protocol that we use in Belgium is a workable instrument that applies to different roles within the logistic poultry chain. It has been approved by the minister in Flanders, and is used on a national scale. It was important to organise this properly because of the limited flexibility in the broiler chain: leaving ready-to-slaughter animals on farm longer than anticipated has immediate and serious consequences for animal welfare at poultry farms.”

For the loading, transport and unloading of livestock and poultry to slaughterhouses at excessive temperatures, a warmth plan is implement. The Netherlands makes use of 3 temperature gradations. The Belgian plan works with color codes, which corresponds to the color codes of the Belgian meteorological institute. Every color gives a spread of measures the operators should adjust to when the welfare of the animals is endangered by excessive climate circumstances. The measures concern, amongst different issues, the variety of animals transported per truck, entry to cooling amenities and the planning and instances at which animals are transported.

Loading at peak temperatures is prohibited, slightly below that, loading density is decreased. Picture: Bert Jansen

Dutch poultry sector not signed as much as nationwide warmth protocol

The political and social strain to correctly organise the transport of poultry throughout warmth can be important within the Netherlands. The Netherlands has a nationwide warmth protocol for livestock which the poultry sector absolutely cooperates with, however on the similar time has refused to signal it thus far.

Night time slaughtering

Based on chairman Gert Jan Oplaat, Affiliation of the Dutch Poultry Processing Business Nepluvi, the sector has not signed the warmth protocol, as a result of the nationwide meals and client product security authority, NVWA, doesn’t assure the opportunity of slaughtering at night time. “The NVWA only says it will do its best, but gives no guarantees. We want to slaughter at night during periods of extreme heat, because it is the most effective measure for securing the welfare of the chickens during transport.”

Poultry sector does every thing to ensure animals’ welfare

Within the warmth protocol, livestock transporters have made agreements about driving and supply instances throughout days of maximum temperatures. “Despite the fact that we have not signed the heat protocol, slaughterhouses and transporters do everything they can to guarantee the welfare of the animals during heat periods. For example, we work in the early hours of the morning as much as possible and slaughterhouses set up fans for the waiting chickens or provide shelter,” explains Oplaat.

Stakeholders in the poultry sector tailored their own approach, but that doesn't exclude them from government inspections. Photo: ANP
Stakeholders within the poultry sector tailor-made their very own method, however that does not exclude them from authorities inspections. Picture: ANP

Societal perceptions

The feelings in Dutch politics and the social consideration for the matter are appreciable. “Sometimes the nuance is lacking, and the problem is approached from a vegan perspective. While the sector has the same interest at heart. We don’t want animals to die during transport. This only costs money and generates negative attention. Moreover, we want to be an organisation that properly regulates well-being during transportation.”

Within the Netherlands, society pays quite a lot of consideration to animal transport on sizzling days. “Meanwhile, the pressure has eased somewhat with the advent of the heat protocol. We have made good agreements with our slaughterhouses and the effect is positive. Despite some very hot days, the number of Dead On Arrivals (DOAs) had not increased in the summer,” says Oplaat.

Warmth protocol will get optimistic opinions

Belgian colleague Ann Truyen can be cautiously optimistic in regards to the impact of the warmth protocol. “Although we don’t want to feel too much victory yet, because the protocol has only been applied for one summer, the inspection services have determined that the small spike in dead on arrivals that we normally see did not occur. It is a good thing that the protocol had the desired effect last summer.”

Not all EU states are beneath societal strain on welfare

Issues corresponding to loading density are strictly regulated in European regulation. “This is strictly enforced in our countries. This will apply to all member states, yet there are member states where the theme of animal welfare is less relevant or where there is less pressure from society. To what extent member states draw up, comply with and enforce protocols still depends on the sensitivity and how policy responds to this,” Truyen suspects.

Further welfare measures imply additional prices

Extra measures and their enforcement are related to increased prices, decrease density ends in a declined yield. That is value it. “The measures also result in fewer DOAs. Money is not the most important thing,” emphasises Oplaat. “We want to arrange it properly and neatly and want to devote sufficient attention to welfare issues. Incidents cannot be ruled out, but with our measures and protocols we function at the highest possible level.”

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