More than 100,000 animals died in barn fires in the Netherlands

Mother pig behind bars, photo: Jo-Anne McArthur / Animal Equality
Mother pig behind bars, photo: Jo-Anne McArthur / Animal Equality

96,00 chickens, 8000 turkeys, 1470 pigs, 12 dogs, 42 sheep, 41 cows, ten horses, a goat and a rabbit have died in barn fires in the Netherlands in 2020, animal rights organization Animal Rights counted.

In total, around 106,000 animals either burned alive or suffocated in the smoke in the barn fires. Holland has a long history of stable fires that have killed many animals. Since 2012, almost one million animals died in barn fires, research from the platform for investigative journalism Ivestico showed.

In March, 8000 turkeys died after sawdust on the floor at a barn in Biddinghuizen caught fire. In April, 1000 pigs burned alive in a huge barn fire in Brabant. The animals couldn’t get out.

Carola Schouten, the Dutch Minister of Agriculture, said she’d focus on preventing the stable fires, but so far, the number of dead animals is still extremely high.

“Almost ten years of action plans have done very little,” Animal Rights campaign leader Erwin Vermeulen said. “That is not surprising, because the core of the problem is not one of fire prevention and detection, but the cramming of huge numbers of animals, which never come out, in closed stables.”

“Even if there was a way to escape, the animals wouldn’t know what to do with it,” Vermeulen said.

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