25-strong team of vets to check on animal welfare at Flemish abattoirs

The Flemish Minister (nationalist) responsible for animal welfare Ben Weyts has announced that a new team made up of 25 vets will carry out spot checks to ensure that animal welfare rules are being upheld. The team will become operational before the end of the year. The checks will be carried out both day and night and without prior warning.   

Mr Weyts has set aside 3 million euro to pay for the team of vets. Currently checks are carried out on abattoirs by veterinary inspectors from the Federal Food Safety Agency (FAVV). However, they focus mainly on food safety rather than animal welfare.

Mr Weyts says that this allows some case of malpractice to slip through the net. He believes that the new team of 25 vets carrying out checks on the 70 abattoirs located in Flanders will go some way to remedying this. The team will concentrate solely on animal welfare issues, while the FAVV inspectors will concentrate on food safety.  

Last year a number of cases of malpractice with relation to animal welfare at Flemish abattoirs came to light. The abattoirs at Tielt and Izegem (both West Flanders) were temporarily closed after video footage of malpractice there was sent to media outlets.