In recent years Eyes on Animals has visited several assembly centers for sows and piglets in the Netherlands. Sows and piglets are collected from different farms and gathered at these centers to be sent to slaughterhouses abroad. They are sent for slaughter because they are less productive or have (small) abnormalities. For sows it often concerns fertility issues, illnesses or lameness. Piglets often suffer from umbilical hernias, tail or ear biting or abscesses. The journeys for these vulnerable animals can be considerably long. Unwanted piglets are often sent to Croatia and Italy. Sows often go to Belgium or Germany.
We visited the assembly centers to help reduce some of the suffering of these animals, something we are already successfully doing at slaughterhouses. Improvements at collection centers include: providing some comfort in the waiting pens, reducing hierarchy fights, humane handling and euthanasia of sick and suffering animals, and the design of raceways and loading-docks.
At several assembly centers the management made themselves available to talk to us, which is positive. Unfortunately, not all collection centers gave us permission to see the animals on site. A number of assembly centers refused us entry, these included: Koning in Lunteren. Verheijden in Herten, Busser in Bennekom,, Van Roij in Reusel and Tijs in Haarle.
Collection centers that welcomed us in to see the animals and sometimes the loading, were: Janssen in Neerkant, Van der Eijnden in Deurne, Meijer in Harfsen, Van Rooi in Lieshout, Van den Boogaard in Veghel, Ketelaars in Heeswijk-Dinther and Paridaans in Eersel. We would like to thank them for their transparency and hope that more collection centers will follow.