Today Eyes on Animals was again at Gosschalk, a Dutch slaughterhouse that had had many serious welfare issues caught on tape and exposed last year by Varkens in Nood. We were hesitant to respond to Gosschalks’ request for help at first but decided to test them out to see how serious they were about really reducing animal stress and pain.
Several months after our first visit, we were present today to see if any of the improvements had been made that we, together with their new Humane Slaughter Expert, had suggested. No more painful or noisy herding tools are used to move the animals through the plant, just foam tubes to guide animals forward. There are large decibel monitors hanging up at the unloading ramps and lairage to indicate the noise level, the design of the pig raceway was improved, stunning frame altered, one employee was asked to leave and the rest were trained by the new Welfare Supervisor. They have installed smart camera surveillance that we have unannounced access to. Of course slaughter, especially in big, fast- paced slaughterhouses can never be pain -or stress-free, but a lot can be done to limit the pain and fear animals experience.
As long as slaughterhouses exist, we are doing our best to reduce animal suffering during slaughter and are at least relieved that plants like these are taking practical action to solve the bigger welfare issues. Thank you to organizations like VIN for exposing major welfare problems and thank you to efforts made afterwards by the people who work in these plants.