Today we inspected a slaughterhouse where goat-kids are slaughtered. A lot of goat-kids are sent to slaughter only a week after birth, because there is no time, space or financial gain for the goat farmer to fatten them. This issue mainly concerns male kids (as these don’t produce milk) and female kids that are no longer needed. They are slaughtered as soon as they are legally allowed to be transported (from 7 days old).
The manager told us that like us, he does not support animals being slaughtered at such a young age. They don’t like doing this and try to do it as considerately as possible.
At the time of our visit there were approximately 200 goat-kids. They were kept in bins with straw and most of them were asleep. To limit the stress and the period they are without milk, they were slaughtered within an hour of arrival. The kids were moved to the stunning area in the bin and were stunned while still in the bin with electric tongs. This was done calmly. They were not driven, picked-up, separated or fixated and were allowed to stay together- which kept the stress to a minimum. However, just before stunning the kids were wet down with a rather strong and cold-water jet. To make this less unpleasant, our advice was to replace this method with a showerhead using warm water.
We also had concerns about the behavior of the kids after stunning and during debleeding – because we were allowed to film this, we were able to discuss it with experts. They indicated that the stunning was likely accurate but the cut was not always performed correctly. If a cut is not performed correctly, animals will not lose enough blood, which imposes a risk of them regaining consciousness. The manager has let us know that he will act on our advice with immediate effect.
We would like to compliment the manager; as for allowing us to make a short video. This enabled us to provide more detailed advice to improve animal welfare. Without the managers transparency this would not have been possible. We want to thank him for his trust and his motivation to further reduce stress and suffering.