Today, we made an unannounced visit to Ameco cattle slaughterhouse because of the extreme heat. When we arrived, we saw a truck with cows standing next to the car wash, mainly in the sun. The truck stood there for at least 40 minutes. This is not acceptable.
We called Ameco, who immediately made time for us. Together we walked onto the property to have a look at the situation. When we arrived, we saw the cows being unloaded. We saw one cow drooling, which is one of the symptoms of heat stress. The unloading itself went well.
It was a few degrees cooler inside the lairage than outside of it (29°C rather than 32-33), but the humidity was a bit higher (40% rather than 30%). Thankfully, we did not see any cows showing obvious signs of heat stress in the pen.
Amongst other things, we advised Ameco to install a canopy at their property urgently; when trucks have to wait they can at least do so in the shade. We also advised them to install a canopy over the unloading platform, so the trucks are not standing in full sun and the cattle are not blinded by it during unloading.
Ameco acknowledged that there is indeed not sufficient shade on their property, and they let us know that this has their attention; they are working to improve this. A construction permit for a canopy at the unloading platform has already been filed at the municipality. Now they will also submit a permit request for a canopy on the property, but it will take a while before this will be granted and implemented. They will check whether it is an option to create a temporary shaded area. Furthermore, they have enforced a tighter arrivals schedule for the trucks in order to limit waiting times as much as possible, and drivers who park outside the property in the sun will be spoken to. Also, things will be improved inside the pen, such as ventilation and the noise level. We are happy to see that Ameco started with several heat improvement measures and hope that the canopy will be in place before the summer of 2023. We will keep an eye on their progress. We would like to thank Ameco for allowing us onto their property and for being open to our advice.