Compassion calls for action to protect animals from extreme heat
With temperatures expected to reach 35°C in parts of the UK this week, Compassion in World Farming is calling on Defra to suspend journeys for farmed animals during this extreme heat unless absolutely necessary.
Extreme weather has affected large parts of the UK in recent weeks and will continue to do so. Such heatwaves create very difficult conditions for farmed animals, particularly in overcrowded indoor factory farms and during transportation, where heat stress can prove fatal.
Last week, for example, it was reported that millions of factory farmed chickens slowly died of heat exhaustion during the record-breaking heatwave in July.
Farmers are being urged to reduce stocking densities and increase ventilation in indoor systems and to ensure access to shade and fresh water at all times to help prevent animal suffering.
The law in the UK requires livestock vehicles to be ventilated to keep temperatures below 30°C – this will not be possible in the temperatures expected.
Phil Brooke, Research Manager at Compassion in World Farming, said:
“In the extreme weather conditions expected, it’s vital that Defra suspends any long journeys for farmed animals to avoid undue suffering from heat exhaustion.
“The heat inside the trucks can be unbearable with animals desperately panting for air. Long journeys should be suspended and short journeys should only take place if absolutely necessary and at night when it’s cooler. Sufficient water must also always be within reach to avoid dehydration.
“It is simply not possible to ventilate lorries so that temperatures remain at a reasonable level in temperatures over 30 degrees. That’s why we’re calling on Defra to suspend long journeys and to issue advice to farmers to improve ventilation and reduce stocking densities in what are often already overcrowded indoor factory farms. Animals reared outdoors must have access to shade and fresh water at all times.
“It also cannot be ignored that the livestock sector is responsible for 14.5% of global greenhouse gases – more than all direct emissions from the transport sector. Meat producers and suppliers must therefore implement more sustainable systems, retailers must demand higher welfare standards and consumers must engage and acknowledge how their food choices impact on our environment. Ultimately, we all need to ask ourselves: are we really willing to risk frying the planet to satisfy our appetite for cheap meat?”
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Notes to Editors:
1. Find out more about Compassion in World Farming’s solutions for sustainable and humane agriculture.