The Dutch Safety Council considers that advice issued in March 2021 on preventing stable fires has not yet been largely followed. The numbers of stable fires and animal deaths have not yet declined structurally. This is partly because ranchers lack urgency.
The number of stable fires has decreased compared to 2020, but the number of animals that have died as a result has actually risen.
The OVV says there can be significant fluctuations in the number of animals that die. For example, many chickens live on poultry farms, which could cause the number of deaths to rise sharply if a fire broke out there. Despite these fluctuations, the Research Council says it does not see any structural decline.
According to OVV, this is partly because ranchers don’t feel the urgency to get started. “Livestock farmers assume that a stable fire will not happen to them and therefore do not invest in fire safety in their stables,” the research council says. Furthermore, due to the uncertainty surrounding nitrogen policy, almost no investment has been made in renovating the stables.
Ministries and organizations must also make more efforts
In addition, the OVV says that the outgoing Minister of Agriculture, the outgoing Minister of the Interior, the Dutch agricultural organization LTO and the Association of Insurance Companies should make more efforts to reduce the number of established fires.
For example, measures such as a maximum number of animals per fire cabin or mandatory electrical inspection have not yet been implemented. Fire investigations are also not always conducted. “Partly for this reason, the cause of nearly half of all recorded fires is unknown.”
OVV believes it is a “good development” that the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality is starting to introduce legislation and regulations. But there is still a need to achieve tangible results.
The Ministry of Agriculture says in its response that “every stable fire is terrible.” “There is structural interest and urgency to this topic from all parties involved. The goal is, and remains, to halve the number of stable fires from 2026 (compared to 2020).”
Outgoing Agriculture Minister Pete Adema says he is committed to presenting the new scheme to Parliament at the end of 2023. The new rules are scheduled to come into force at the end of 2024.
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