A cattle-market for culled cows in Bunnik (near Utrecht in The Netherlands) was visited unannounced today by two Eyes on Animals inspectors and a new volunteer. This market takes place on a weekly basis at a collecting station for farm animals. Both meat and dairy cows of different breeds are traded here. A few dozen cows were present during our visit. The market manager gave us an extensive tour.
The cows stay here for three hours in the early morning before they are sold and transported to slaughterhouses in The Netherlands. There is no bedding at this market, but there is water so animals can drink. Most animals are tied on too short to be able to lie down. On the lower railing chains are attached, on which the cows can also be tied. These are not necessarily meant for enabling the cows to lie down, but to tie wilder cows on more firmly, and also to prevent hanging or strangling. There were also pens in which the cows were housed loosely, which was good.
The market hall has a high ceiling and there is good drainage. One of the cows had difficulty breathing and a number of skinny Holstein cows were covered with manure. The loading of the animals was done calmly. We will write a detailed report which will be sent to the market manager and pertinent authorities. We thank the market manager for his openness and the information he provided us with. We rely on good cooperation and we look forward to returning to this market.