The Dutch food safety authority (NVWA) gave its authority for the transportation of sick pigs across the border to Germany and Belgium, the protest organisation Animal Rights has claimed.
The transportation took place in 2017 when 38 pigs were sent to a rendering plant in Belgium from the North-Brabant town of Reusel in the Netherlands, the group alleges, on the basis of a demand for documents based on the Dutch freedom of information legislation. According to European law, animals that are sick or injured may not be transported to another member state. The Dutch TV station RTL found that 25 similar shipments had been approved by the Dutch authority for transportation to Germany in 2018. Some of the animals were so unwell they were not able to be slaughtered for food, and had to be euthanised.
On arrival in Belgium, inspectors from the food safety agency were called in and declared the shipment of pigs to be crippled, covered in abscesses and infected.
The Dutch agriculture minister Carola Schouten said she was “shocked” by the news. The NVWA, the Dutch equivalent of Belgium’s federal food safety agency, pointed out that the problems with the pigs may have arisen en route to Belgium. Sources told RTL, however, that “everything was done to allow the animals to be exported”.
Schouten said she would carry out an investigation into the working methods of food inspectors, and take measures where necessary.