Flemish Minister for Animal Welfare Ben Weyts is to give the money to provide for a mobile control team that will carry out surprise inspections throughout Flanders. The money will be used to deploy 24 full-time staff. The veterinarians are not tied to a specific slaughterhouse, but can go anywhere as mobile brigades.
The recruitment procedures for the new Flemish inspectors are started in the summer in order to be able to start at the beginning of 2020 at the latest.
"In recent years we have had to intervene decisively several times because abuses had come to light in Flemish slaughterhouses," said Weyts. “I want to prevent more animal suffering by placing inspectors in slaughterhouses that focus on animal welfare. With 25 inspectors for 70 slaughterhouses, we ensure one of the most comprehensive control systems in Europe."
Weyts said he has had to intervene decisively several times in recent years when abuses were revealed in Flemish slaughterhouses. For example, the slaughterhouses of Tielt and Izegem were closed for a while and were only allowed to reopen under strict conditions. Weyts developed an approach to step by step to improve animal welfare in slaughterhouses.
Work has already been done on external screening of slaughterhouses, more camera surveillance, more training for slaughterers and a stronger position of the so-called animal welfare officer within each company.
“Flanders is once again taking the lead for more animal welfare. No control system will ever be 100% watertight, but I am committed to establishing the most comprehensive control in Europe,” said Weyts.