Thousands of pigs burned alive on a farm in the Netherlands

Pig looking into camera, photo: Phoenix Han on Unsplash
Pig looking into camera, photo: Phoenix Han on Unsplash

Thousands of pigs were killed in a huge fire on Tuesday on a farm in Nederweert in the Netherlands.

Emergency services were alerted about a big barn fire in the afternoon with heavy smoke visible in the area. 

The fire quickly spread and killed 4600 pigs who had been locked up in the barn by the farmer. The stable burned down completely with the animals trapped in it.

These kinds of barn fires are difficult to fight because of the construction of the stables, a spokesperson for the fire brigade told the local news channel 1Limburg.

The barn contains steel beams, which melt and deform due to the incredible heat. “That will be like spaghetti, and then it is no longer safe for the fire brigade to go in,” the spokesperson said.

One million animals died in fires
Holland has a long history of stable fires that have burned alive or suffocated many animals.

Since 2012, almost one million animals died in barn fires in the Netherlands, research from the platform for investigative journalism Ivestico showed.

The Dutch government knows that adjustments have to be made to stables to prevent fires, but so far, hasn’t done it effectively.

“Almost ten years of action plans have done very little,” Animal Rights campaign leader Erwin Vermeulen said in December. 

“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.

It is unclear what caused the fire.

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