Today Eyes on Animals paid a visit to a slaughterhouse in the East part of the Netherlands. During our visit, very young male kids of 7-14 day old, as well as fattened male kids of 4-5 weeks old arrived and were slaughtered.
Male kids are a “by-product” of goat dairy farming. Thanks partly to pressure from Eyes on Animal, an increasing number of male kids are allowed now to stay on their farm of birth and are fattened there for at least a few weeks. However, still a large portion of male kids are sent to slaughter at the very young age of 7-14 days.
The slaughterhouse owner said that the condition of the male kids has improved in recent years and confirmed that they received more older fattened male kids compared to last year.
The 7-14 days old male kids were slaughtered shortly after arrival and did not have to wait long. Until that time they waited in pens with bedding. The older fattened male kids had to wait longer, but they were also given bedding and because of the longer waiting time they were also given artificial milk.
The male kids were treated calmly during unloading and restraining before stunning. Eyes on Animals did however worry about the effectiveness of the stunning. We will be looking into this further together with the slaughterhouse owner and experts in electric stunning to make sure the settings are set right and all animals be rendered thoroughly unconscious.
We further noticed a few male kids with swollen and bloody ears because they had been ear tagged (probably just before transport). There was a lot of variation in the size of the eartags. We will be encouraging the sector to start using eartags that are lighter and smaller so as to avoid piercing large holes in their small ears and to use disinfectants.
Because the slaughterhouse owner has an open attitude and already got started on our suggestions for improvement, we agreed to their request of not publishing their name.