80% of the cattle arriving at Kumasi cattle slaughterhouse are from Burkina Faso and have been on the road for days before they arrive. The roads are bumpy and one can only drive slowly. The cattle are crowded, the weather is extremely hot, there is no water and many have long horns. Most are sick before even being loaded – the fact that they are unfit is the reason they are being sent for slaughter. A large number of them are either dead upon arrival or die shortly afterwards. Exhausted, dehydrated, starved or trampled.
Last year we taught the managers and workers of Kumasi cattle slaughterhouse how to use a captive bolt pistol and donated one to them. Most of them were in favour and wanted to use it, seeing the benefit of being able to render the animals unconscious in a standing position, compared with forcing them to fall, twisting their necks and then cutting their throats while still conscious. However, they stopped using it and returned it because some of the traders and meat buyers felt that stunning animals was not in alliance with their Islamic religious requirements and got upset by it. This year we showed them the mushroom stunner, a non-penetrating stunner. They think that this may be better accepted, and are going to start offering this service for those customers open to it.
At the moment we are not able to do much more for these animals. We are trying to make sure the cattle, particularly the ones arriving as downers, are at least offered water in the lairage and in the near future we hope to convince the managers to build proper unloading ramps. There is still so much work to do here.