The amount of barn fires has increased in recent years. About one and a half million animals have died in stable fires in the past 10 years. The following comparison does not hold up entirely, but it does place the situation into perspective. If we make a hypothetical comparison of the 1.5 million animals that have burned to death, to the Dutch population of approximately 17 million people, that means 8.8% of the population would die in a fire. If we check the figures of traffic deaths, we see that there were 637 victims in 2017. Millions of euros are invested to make traffic safer in order to further decrease the amount of victims. However, for the 1.5 million burnt animals (150 000 on average per year), almost no measures are taken.
Plan of action
Figures show that the Action Plan 2012/2016 did not directly lead to a decrease in barn fires. While it is true that barns built after 2014 are significantly more fireproof, the vast majority of barns were built before 2014. Considering that the average durability of a barn is 25 to 40 years, this means that it will take decades before the adapted building decree that was included in the action plan will make a major difference. If we assume a durability of 25-40 years and extrapolate the figures of the past 10 years, we can conclude that between 3.75 and 6 million more animals will die in barn fires.
Now that we know so many more animals will die, what is stopping us from take short-term action? This could save millions of lives.
Faunawatch has shown deep concern for the millions of animals that have died due to barn fires in the past years. We have researched this topic extensively and summarized our conclusions in a report. This report has been shared with all political parties and ministers in charge. We have also communicated our findings to the media and to fellow animal and nature organizations. Even though some improvements were made, a huge amount of animals still die, especially because they are all kept together in large spaces. This seems to be a taboo subject in many parties: when it comes to this topic, they are as silent as the grave!