Eyes on Animals was present on the cull-cow market in Leeuwarden on the evening of January 10th when the cattle arrive and are sold and the early morning of January 11th when they are loaded and transported to slaughterhouses in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. We checked on the unloading, the loading, the housing conditions on the market and the condition of the animals. There were two cull-cows that were in a poor condition (lame) that needed to be put out of their misery at the market. The market director and the official governmental inspector that arrived on the morning of the 11th shared our opinion. These cattle should have never been sold by the farmer and put on transport trucks to go to the market. The farmers should have put an end to the suffering of these two laming cows on the farm. Eyes on Animals is very disappointed that farmers and transporters still try to get away with loading cows that cannot put their weight on all four legs and are in pain. We will send the eartag numbers to the authorities and insist that the farm and transport company be inspected and necessary action be taken.
The cattle market itself has taken many concrete steps based on our advice to at least ensure suffering and stress is kept to a minimum while the animals are housed there. More of the cattle are placed in group pens now and not tied up, there is a thick layer of straw covering the entire floor of the market for the animals to have something soft to stand or lie on and all animals have access to water. It is however unfortunate that this time we noticed fewer strawnets hanging in the pens, leaving the animals without the opportunity to fill their rumen.
In comparison to other centers where cattle are collected and sold, the Leeuwarden center is much more transparent and has better facilities for the animals. Eyes on Animals inspectors can always show up at the Leeuwarden market unannounced and are allowed in to check on the welfare of all cattle.
We would like to thank the managers of the Leeuwarden market for their cooperation.