Complaint launched after unsuccessful rescue of pigs in cesspool

Organisation Animal Rights files a complaint to the Animal Welfare Service for animal abuse and deliberate negligence in a life-threatening situation, after twelve pigs that had fallen through the floor of a pigsty in Ruiselede, West-Flanders, could not be saved.

The fire brigade had come to the site to evacuate the animals, but the farmer refused to empty the cesspool first, which meant that the rescue operation could not take place. "This is the true face of animal husbandry: there is not an ounce of compassion for the animals. Not even if they risk to drown in their own manure," says Animal Rights campaign coordinator Els Van Campenhout.

At the moment it is not clear whether the animals are still alive, according to the organisation that has asked the municipality for more information about the current situation.

Animal Rights also asks Flemish Minister of Animal Welfare Ben Weyts for more information. "Does the Ministry of Animal Welfare have an insight into how many similar accidents have happened in the past and has it done everything necessary to save the animals?"

According to the animal right organization, at least four similar accidents have already been reported this year. Each time, the fire brigade came to the scene to remove the animals from the manure storage.

Last week, eight more pigs collapsed through the barn floor in Meulebeke, and at the beginning of this year, 70 pigs fell into the cesspool of a barn in Ingelmunster, killing an unknown number of animals, it says.

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