Very disappointing news on our last day in Ghana : after one week of achieving significant improvements, today we hit a brick wall.
The Board Members overseeing Tamale cattle slaughterhouse had confirmed to us yesterday that they understood the science and welfare advantages of pre-stunning animals before cutting their throats and wanted to modernize. They accepted our captive bolt and asked us to teach the butchers inside their plant on how to use it, so the animals would suffer less. Roy, the stunner from the Netherlands who volunteered to help us in Ghana, stunned 3 cattle the next morning with everyone looking on and learning, until one meat seller got angry, saying he would lose customers. This made everyone nervous and the stunning was aborted.
Northern Ghana, and especially Tamale, is mainly composed of Muslims that are very traditional with little access or knowledge of new technologies. WACPAW will need more time to explain the way stunning works and its benefits so that more people there will understand it and accept it. We can understand that stunning is a subject that needs time to be understood by traditional Muslims but what was shocking was the amount of suffering that was tolerated. Cattle are beaten and rushed into the abattoir. During this terrifying process the cattle trip and fall into open drains. Many break their legs and never get up again. The workers then drag them out by their tails and neck. Downer animals arrive by wagon, are literally shoved off the truck and then dragged into the plant by their tail and head. We need to reduce some of this suffering immediately.
After leaving the slaughterhouse we went to a metal manufacturing company and have asked them to build durable drain covers asap. These will then be placed on all the open drains so that at least the animals can walk safely without breaking their legs before being slaughtered.