Today the EonA & TSB|AWF team was in Ereğli (Turkey) and dropped by Cihangir Et, a small slaughterhouse which slaughters animals 2 days in a week. They slaughter approximately 40 cattle and 300-600 sheep on each day and they sell the meat at their own market stall in İstanbul. We met with the manager. They were not slaughtering today so we were not able to inspect the slaughtering process, but all the staff was there, cleaning up the plant. We checked on the installations and design of the plant and took the opportunity to talk with all the employees. They were interested in the video- footage we showed them of how to improve animal-welfare and decrease some of the suffering and fear during the slaughter process. We gave them copies of our educational brochure.
They have a small unloading area but the ramp unfortunately did not have lateral protection. The floor was not grated to make the cement anti-slip but it did not look too slippery. The manager said they do not see animals slipping. The part of the lairage where the sheep are housed has solid sides to avoid sheep getting their legs caught. Unfortunately though the cattle area did not have that yet but the manager said it was in the plans to improve on. The last few meters of the raceway for the cattle are curved with solid sidewalls. They have many lights inside and one of them is above the restraint box. This is correct design, as cattle move easier from dark to lit-up areas and in curved solid raceways that prevent them from seeing distractions and give them a feeling of returning to where they come from. However the floor of the raceway needs to be repaired; there were potholes and uneven areas. As well the floor had different types of surfaces and puddles which cause cattle to balk and stress. Additionally, the floor of the trip floor box is higher than the raceway, thus the risk of legs getting caught underneath is high.
We recommended to the manager to make the entire raceway have solid sides with anti-mounting racks on top to prevent unfamiliar cattle from mounting and hurting each other. He said the anti-mounting bars were not necessary because they only bring out one bovine at a time from the lairage and do not get the next one until the first one is slaughtered. This way cattle can’t mount each other and cannot see and hear when others are being slaughtered. If the cattle are very domesticated and familiar with people, then indeed this system of moving them one at a time has advantages.
Unfortunately they use the horrible and old-fashioned “trip-floor” restraint box that forces cattle to fall down to have their leg chained and then be hoisted by one leg off the floor while still conscious, to perform the cut to the throat. This causes excruciating pain- 450-6500kg hanging by one leg. We urged him to replace his trip-floor box with at least a more “humane and modern” restraint box and in the meantime to stop fully hoisting cattle off the floor but instead let the animals keep one shoulder on the ground but he thinks the animal will then injure the slaughterman, so he was not willing to change. (In this video you can see what a trip-floor box looks like and why it is not acceptable : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=On-qkoXeKwc).
We hope that the footage and educational material we left for them will plant a seed of thought in their minds to make improvements. We will stay in touch with them and keep encouraging them that improvements be put into place. We would like to thank the manager and staff for welcoming us in nevertheless and being willing to discuss ideas with us to reduce animal stress and suffering.