After Gosschalk was forced to shut down by NVW authority due to undercover footage exposing serious animal welfare issues, they have responded by implementing several improvements. Although we were hesitant to help at first (for years Gosschalk did not allow us in) after a few meetings with the director and the newly appointed welfare supervisor, we have the impression that Gosschalk is sincere in their intentions to make animal welfare a priority. For example, they now allow us to visit without notice and they are working with a smart camera control system. Gosschalk also hired Roy Melsert to supervise and improve animal welfare working practices from within. Roy is also a volunteer at Eyes on Animals and helped us improve several slaughterhouses in Ghana, so we know he is very motivated.
One of the most important changes that has been implemented is that the focus is no longer mainly on productivity. When the slaughterline does not run at “full capacity” due to animal welfare reasons, this is now regarded as standard practice. Therefore pigs do not have to be chased as much as before, to make up for delays (gaps in the slaughterline). Consequently, the pressure on workers is considerably less which makes them more patient when handling the animals. Also, the noise in the slaughterhouse has been reduced drastically using quiet driving tools, and clear work protocols have been laid out. For example, ensuring stunning is carried out correctly and acting swiftly if welfare issues occur. Following our advice Gosschalk is experimenting with smaller groups of pigs (6-7) so the stress during driving is further reduced. They are also working on adjustments to the raceway.
Gosschalk has already received two unannounced visits from us. Our impressions have been positive but there is still room and need for improvement, and Gosschalk is working on these. More can be read in the media-articles below.