This afternoon the EonA and TSB|AWF team dropped by the Akşeker Et slaughterhouse in Konya. The manager welcomed us into his office but he said they were too busy to give us a tour inside the slaughterhouse. We could however view the process live from the CCTV on his computer screen.
From what we could check via the screen, the unloading ramp was clean, had shade and a non-slip grated floor. They have 2 different corridors from different lairages to the main raceway leading to the restrainers but only one of corridors was equipped with anti-mounting bars. But the bars were set quite high, meaning the cattle could still attempt to jump up and risk injury. There was also the risk of them getting their legs caught in the open sides. The raceway was fortunately “S” shaped with solid concrete sidewalls but there was a sharp corner at the entrance, which causes cattle to balk and become confused/stressed. The raceway also did not have anti-mounting bars.
They have 2 restraint boxes. One of them is a rotating box and the other one the old-fashioned trip-floor box that cause animals to fall and then have their leg chained and be hoisted. They use the trip-floor only because the rotating one doesn’t work properly anymore. They ordered a new one. When the new one is set up, they willl use both restraint systems at the same time. When the cattle enter the trip-floor box, they can view everything happening in the slaughter area (of the previously slaughtered bovine, blood on the floor, swining chains, people etc). They hoist the cattle by one leg fully off the floor, which causes excruciating pain. They cut the neck when the bovine is hanging fully off the floor. At least they didn’t leave the bovine hanging for a long time, they cut the throat immediately. Nevertheless, the bovine remains conscious after the cut and a lot of panic and pain could be alleviated if they change this old-fashioned way of restraining cattle.
The manager said they made some modifications on this trip-floor box. They put a soft plastic part inside and a metal platform on the side. He says cattle fall down softer this way. He also said they are going to build anti-mounting bars to the rest of the corridors and raceway. He doesn’t accept stunning because he is afraid it is not Halal. But he said, if the Turkish religious authorities at Diyanet gives a fatwa approving stunning, he would like to do it in his slaughterhouse and supports it. The next day we called him to see if we could visit his plant but he said he again did not have time.
We will send him our report and suggestions for improvements, notably how to reduce some of the suffering caused in his plant during restraint and live-hoisting.