Twenty-thousand chicks were euthanized in Belgium on Sunday after suffocating in an overheated shipping container stuck on the tarmac at Brussels Airport.
Firefighters gassed the chicks after a flight that was due to take the container to the Democratic Republic of Congo was canceled on Saturday, the BBC reports.
“We sent a vet to the scene and he decided to put them out of their misery,” said Brigitte Borgmans, a spokesperson from Dierenwelzijn Vlaanderen, the Flemish animal welfare authorities. A team from nearby Zaventem conducted the gassing as airport firefighters did not want to do it.
The gassing took place after the exporter of the container refused to take it back.
Belgian lawmakers and activists expressed outrage over the incident. “There’s no difference between Amazon parcels and animals,” said Independent Hermes Sanctorum, an animal welfare campaigner.
“We need to ask why living creatures are exported across the world like economic products,” said Jelle Engelbosch, a lawmaker from the Flemish nationalist N-VA, according to l’avenir.net news.