Today we returned to the European pig slaughterhouse that reached out for help so that we could continue testing out ways to reduce some of the stress the animals experience in their plant. We were pleased that they had been busy with construction and had made many improvements to the corridor and tunnel.
The light from the windows that had been creating reflections on the corridor and tunnel walls was now blocked, the entrance to the tunnel was made clearer, the view of workers ahead was blocked by a new temporary wooden wall etc.…
Today we tested out moving pigs through this modified design to see if it helped. Their regular employees were in charge of moving the pigs from the lairage to the corridor. Our team (this time also including Roy, an animal-welfare expert and EU based butcher that volunteers for Eyes on Animals every year in Ghana) moved them through the tunnel towards the stunner. Dr. Kees Scheepens was again also in our team helping out.
Again, we could not keep up with their regular slaughter capacity.
At certain points in the system the pigs are afraid of moving forward quickly and there you need to give them time. It is at these points where the workers normally would prod them with a low-voltage electric shock to keep the speed-flow. Should they want to stop using electric prods totally, which we are of course also in favour of, the slaughter speed will likely need to be decreased. Or the capacity of the stunner area should be doubled together with design improvements in the corridor and tunnel area.
By doing this, pigs can be moved more humanely through their system at a much lower rate, as they want to maintain their slaughter speed overall.
As long as pigs continue to be slaughtered, we see this type of work necessary to at least reduce some of the stress and suffering.
And when no one else does this, we will at least try to help so that the world is at least less cruel for farm animals.