Today Eyes on Animals joined Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals to check on the condition and treatment of cattle at the livestock market in Sawyerville, Quebec. We were pleased to not observe any bovine in very poor condition, all appeared fit and mobile.
Nevertheless, the handling of the animals was at times unnecessarily aggressive, with most employees seen hitting the animals with hard plastic canes repeatedly, and even on their faces or when there was nowhere for them to move to. The raceway leading out of the market and into the outdoor lairage was also quite slippery due to the cold and icy conditions outside, causing almost each bovine to slip while being rushed outside. The overall environment was very stressful due to the level of noise everywhere. Right above the heads of the animals in the waiting pens were speakers set on high volume, with the loud, rambling voice of the auctioneer going on and on for hours. Many of the pens were also extremely crowded, with the animals having no room to move.
There was a great variation in the skill of the various employees, a couple were calm and smart with the animals, while the others were yelling, cursing and hitting. All-in all, the animals appeared nervous and tired going through this market. We also did not observe any water or feed.
We will write to the market director to suggest some improvements to make the environment inside the market less stressful, and most importantly insist that his employees be properly trained in humane handling.