Today Eyes on Animals gave a presentation about livestock transportation as part of a workshop organized by slaughterhouse Toennies from Germany. In the audience there were several different stakeholders such as livestock traders, transportation companies, animal welfare organizations, official authorities, truck builders and supermarkets.
We covered several issues that we believe can be improved: the loading and unloading of pigs (groups are too large, misuse of herding tools), the mixing of socially stable groups during transport (causing hierarchy fights) and heat stress due to long waiting times. We also spoke about the increasing number of closed livestock trucks (forced ventilated trucks). Eyes on Animals finds that the ventilators in these trucks are frequently insufficient, are not well maintained and/or make too much noise. Also, the animals are often not visible, not accessible, and the required (adequate) emergency systems are missing, if the ventilation fails. The consequences of these shortcomings can be disastrous (animals suffocate unnoticed).
We challenged the audience to think and act more from the perspective of an animal. Animals perceive the world in different ways to humans and are often very sensitive to sound, sudden changes from light to darkness, shadows and objects on the floor, smells, body posture and movements by the driver, and the wind. By adapting to this and above all by being more patient (so that animals have time to explore their new surroundings) you not only reduce stress (which causes them to behave calmer and therefore walk better), but often make things easier on yourself.
It was a very positive and constructive day where people from all areas the sector and animal welfare organisations shared their concerns and suggestions for improvement. We made several good contacts and are confident that these will result in new projects to help improve animal welfare. We want to thank Toennies for the invitation and for organizing the workshop.