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Dear donors and friends,
We can never make animal slaughter perfectly humane, but as long as there are people eating meat, we will do our utmost to make the process less painful. For this reason we go inside slaughterhouses regularly and encourage, coordinate and supervise changes. We just received some very good news in this respect;

Slaughterhouse stops using painful stunning method

In 2017 we inspected Grossfurtner pig slaughterhouse in Austria. Pigs were being moved with unnecessary force because the design of their single-file raceway was so poor that pigs were confused, didn’t know where to go, were getting stuck and some were even collapsing from the stress. As well, they were using CO2 to stun the pigs.

After our inspection in late 2017, the plant totally took apart their slaughterhouse and re-designed it. In February 2020 the renovations were completed and it was time for us to return and check on their massive improvements.
We observed a totally different plant from two years ago. There was a much lower stress level, less noise, much calmer animal-handling and a brand-new raceway design. The design of the raceway was partly based on advice we received from Dr. Temple Grandin. There is no bottle-necking or panic among the pigs when being moved through. And: CO2 stunning has been phased out completely!

Grossfurtner can be very proud of the improvements they have made so far. There are a few more areas that need fine-tuning and we discussed this with them after our visit. We remain in touch with them!
CO2 stunning
CO2 gas stunning is something that Eyes on Animals is against, because it causes horrendous pain and panic when pigs breathe it in and unconsciousness is not immediate: it takes at least 20 seconds! We always recommend switching to electric stunning with new, properly designed raceways. Electric stunning, when done properly, leads to immediate loss of consciousness.

Click here to watch the EonA pig-slaughter film explaining the difference between CO2 gas stunning and electric stunning.

Improvements in Westfort pig slaughterhouse

A couple of months ago, animals rights organization Ongehoord published video footage from Westfort pig slaughterhouse showing practices that were not acceptable. There was unnecessary and repetitive hitting of pigs, hoisting a downer pig up by his tail to get him off the tailgate of a truck, and a few pigs not always correctly or adequately stunned.

Normally slaughterhouses are not closed down after bad footage from inside is revealed - life and business does go on. So the best thing to do is use this footage information as an opportunity to push for further changes.
Article in industry magazine PigBusiness about the improvements we made
Fortunately, the people at Westfort have always been very communicative with Eyes on Animals, so we found ourselves at their plant again last month. The manager too was shocked about some of the poor handling and ready to take action. Over the years they had already put some of our suggestions into place. Now we thought we could politely demand that more be done.

On March 9th we went through the entire slaughterhouse, slowly, and made recommendations on how each part of the process might be improved.

Dr. Kees Scheepens, a pig behaviorist and welfare worker joined our EonA team as did Roy, the slaughter man that volunteers his time for Eyes on Animals when we work in Ghana.

Westfort has now told us that they are working hard on our list and have already put many recommendations in place. We will return in a couple of months to see the effect.

Less suffering for millions of birds in poultry slaughterhouse

For some time now, we have been working at attaining welfare improvements at Wilki poultry slaughterhouse and transport company in Belgium.

We first improved their poultry transport crates. Their crates initially had small loading doors which resulted in many birds injuring themselves during loading. Several years ago Wilki replaced them all with new and improved crates with large sliding doors.

More recently they also agreed to implement some of our ideas to reduce stress during slaughter. Wilki has now confirmed that they have put some of our suggestions into practice. They have built a canopy with good lighting in order to properly check the welfare of the animals at night and provide shade during the summer. They also placed a number of fans in the middle of the passageway, creating a wind-tunnel effect to help limit heat stress.
'Breast contact strip' that was installed to reduce some of the suffering
In the slaughterhouse itself, a breast contact strip has been installed along the entire assembly line, from the point of shackling until the moment the chickens are stunned. This helps alleviate some of the stress of being shackled.

They are just small steps, but do lead to a bit less suffering for millions of birds each year and we will continue working with Wilki to get more changes made in the near future.

Pig slaughterhouse makes efforts to reduce stress during herding

Following a visit by Eyes on Animals in 2018, Pali pig slaughterhouse in Geldrop made several improvements to their slaughterhouse.

Our main concern at Pali was the single-file raceway to the electric stunner and the high noise level in the slaughterhouse. Due to design errors and (optical) obstructions, the pigs hesitated to enter the raceway and congestion arose. A lot of noise was made to force the pigs forward.

On our advice, Pali has adjusted their raceway now so that the pigs are less fearful walking through it and employees do not have to use a negative stimulus (sudden loud noises) to herd them forward. The raceway is now closed on the sides, so that the pigs no longer see scary distractions like moving employees.
Pali has reduced the colour contrast on the floor to prevent pigs from balking when being herded forward.
The brightly colored anti-reverse doors in the raceway are now painted gray (making them less noticeable) and shiny metal strips and drains on the floor have been removed so that there is less contrast on the floors. Pigs are now also moved in smaller groups and the density in the lairage pens has been reduced. This eases movement and reduces fighting.

As soon as the corona lockdown is relaxed, we will re-visit Pali again to see the improvements in practice. We are pleased that they invested time and thought into these improvements.
All these improvements could not have been made without YOU, dear donor. THANK YOU for your continued support and believing in our work!
Lesley Moffat
director of Eyes on Animals
IBAN: NL73 TRIO 0212 3642 19
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