Today we visited Willems slaughterhouse in Druten. The owner designed his own version of the Bud box to minimalize stress for the animals when entering the restraint box. According to the owner this also has a positive effect on the quality of the meat.
The design is based on the Bud box for cows. It is a square pen with an elongated swing gate. With the swing gate and a hand held separating board, one of the pigs is separated from the rest of the group and led to the other side of the pen. The animal then sees the restraining box, which is transparent in the front and well lit, and instinctively moves towards it thinking it is an exit. The pig practically walks into the stun box voluntarily, which minimizes stress and reduces the “restraint” time to just a few seconds. The treatment of the animals is calm and professional. No electric prods or other stress-causing driving tools were used.
To optimize the wellbeing of the pigs, our advice was to stun the animals immediately upon entering the restraint box. This way the pigs don’t have time to realize that they are alone and there is no way out, which keeps stress to a minimum.
We want to compliment Willems on this unique design and approach to the stun box. In a few other European slaughterhouses we have observed so little stress during the driving of pigs to the electrical stunner. We will definitely use this design as a “better practice” in our training sessions, in our Industry Tips and visits to other slaughterhouses. We would also like to thank the owner for his transparency: we were welcomed, he spent valuable time with us, and we were allowed to film the entire process.