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Dear friends and donors,
I first discovered the bad side of factory-farming and industrial slaughter when I was a young girl of twelve.

When I visited a livestock market I saw a pile of sick animals left for dead behind the building. At a huge industrial poultry slaughterhouse, I saw dozens of live chickens walking around the bloody floor, having fallen off their shackles. I felt shocked. I realized animals were suffering badly and unnecessarily and it was largely being tolerated.

But… in a strange way, I also felt optimistic. All I had to do was show these images to the world and the world would stop tolerating it!
Sadly, I see myself as a naïve child back then. Just transitioning from childhood into adulthood, I discovered quickly what adults are able to do once they get caught up in the rat race…
Me when I was twelve - a little activist. The text on the sticker with the seal reads: "stop the murder".
I sadly no longer think that we can that easily close bad places where farm animals pass through. At least not in my generation.

But I do think strongly that we can drastically reduce the amount of suffering and fear animals experience in these places and also reduce the number of animals that pass through.

That is the goal of our organization: Eyes on Animals!

Our work behind closed doors

A lot of our work takes place in slaughterhouses that we built up relationships with. Where the manager trusts us to open up and reveal the welfare problems in his/her slaughter plant so that we can provide suggestions on how to improve the situation.

We take these projects on because they lead to a significant decrease in animal suffering for millions of animals, quickly.

But most of this work remains hidden. We often cannot show the images of our efforts on TV or else all doors will close. And even if media attention would create awareness for a short time in the fast-paced media, in the long run the animals would lose out if the doors would afterwards be shut on us, animal-welfare activists.

Improving slaughterhouses

Currently we are working closely with two large European slaughterhouses; re-designing the inside of the plants so that there are fewer obstacles causing animals to become fearful; improving the quality of the stunning so animals are correctly and calmly rendered unconscious before being killed.
We are also training the workers, in theory and in practice and repeatedly until the bad habits of the past are forgotten and better, calmer handling techniques are adopted permanently.
Left: Our training of the slaughterhouse personnel in animal-behaviour, animal-intelligence and how to handle animals humanely. Right: Practical training of the staff.
We get a lot of help from the world-renowned animal behaviorist Dr. Temple Grandin. We show her footage from inside the plants so she can also give feedback on next steps. We are very thankful to her and also to the slaughterhouses that are investing in these massive improvements.
Left: Re-designing a slaughterhouse so that animals are less fearful.
Right: Online brainstorm with Temple Grandin to get her expert opinion on the design.

Preventing suffering and fear

The work is not sexy or exciting. We cannot make big claims out loud or call on things to stop.

But there are concrete changes taking place. We are making sure of this.

And the most special thing I have learned working this way is that the attitude of managers and staff towards sentient beings, and animal welfare activists like us, change during the course. Their attitude becomes more open towards our point of view and more empathetic and interested in animals. There is no polarization but rather a bridge created.
We are allowed to drop by unannounced and watch CTV footage to evaluate the handling of animals and provide input.
Of course, there is no such thing as perfectly humane slaughter. But having seen so many different slaughterhouses around the world, I can assure you there is torturous slaughter, where animals suffer for hours of extreme fear and pain, but there is also “quick” slaughter, where the fear is kept to a minimum and efforts are made to show some compassion up to the end.

We are not helping slaughterhouses kill animals.
We are helping prevent excess suffering and fear.

As long as the world is still relatively similar to how it was when I was twelve - people are still eating lots of industrially-produced meat and dairy - I see this as the most important step we can do to make an effective difference for animals being slaughtered today.
EonA expert-team working at improving the slaughterhouses
From left to right:

Lesley - EonA director
Dr. Kees Scheepens - pig veterinarian known as the “pig whisperer”
Jan - expert in humane slaughter, volunteer for EonA’s work in Turkey
Madelaine - EonA inspector
Roy - consultant in humane slaughter, volunteer for EonA’s work in Ghana
Michel - expert in humane slaughter

Stay positive

By writing this I would really like to share my now 35-year long dream with current 12-year olds that are active for animals.

I want to say to them: do not give up on the world you dream of for animals, but understand that it may take longer than you want it to and that each step forward still counts!
Lesley Moffat
director Eyes on Animals
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