Today we met with the founder of DGS and two project managers to discuss how to best incorporate animal behaviour into design of lairages, raceways and restraint boxes in order to reduce fear among the animals to be slaughtered. Using plastic instead of steel to reduce noise levels, removing contrasts and sharp corners in the raceways and making the floor non-slip and restraint box not a dead-end. DGS has repeatedly shown us that that are genuinely interested and active in taking animal behaviour and welfare into account when designing slaughterhouse installations. Their most recent being a cattle restraint box that keeps stress levels relatively low.
We had sent them a video we made of our visit to Willems abattoir in Druten (NL) a few months ago, showing the very good pig restraint box and swing-door entrance, custom designed by the owner, Mark Willems. This abattoir impressed us as the design worked very well to keep fear to a minimum for the pigs. DGS is now going to manufacture this design and make it available commercially so that other small and medium-sized pig slaughterhouses can also use it, and improve animal-welfare in their plant. We will stay in close contact with DGS to further bridge animal-behaviour with engineering and technology.