Eyes on Animals organized a two-day seminar in Turkey on ‘How to Reduce Suffering During Slaughter’. We did this together with the Animal Welfare Foundation and the student veterinarian club from the Istanbul University. The training-seminar was held at the Veterinarian Faculty of the University of Istanbul.
We invited Turkish slaughterhouse managers and veterinarians, Turkish and EU companies that manufacture slaughterhouse equipment, Turkish meat companies and supermarkets and official veterinarians from the government plus veterinarian students. All players that are responsible for the low-level of welfare in the Turkish slaughterhouses right now, but also with the power to make real changes for the animals. More than 100 people came!
Aside from being very satisfied with the number of people who attended the seminar and their enthusiasm to learn and brainstorm together, we have some more good news to tell. During the seminar we found out that for the first time downer animals are now being put out of their misery (stunned) at a slaughterhouse in Izmir. The veterinarian from this plant even had prepared a small presentation showing this improvement, that he gave during the question/answer period. As well, Cemsan, a Turkish company that manufactures equipment for slaughterhouses, informed us that they no longer build the trip-floor restraint boxes (which require live hoisting and that we complained about to them last year) but only restraint boxes where the animal does not fall and is not hoisted by chains while still conscious. Their new brochure also no longer promotes trip-floor boxes, in fact there is no mention of them anymore! They gave a good presentation on their improved restraint box and why it reduced suffering. As well, Helmaks, another Turkish company producing slaughterhouse equipment is now working with the Belgian company V-Cons that came, to improve equipment available in Turkey so that the design poses less risk for stress and injury to animals during slaughter. Dr. Kalgay from the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture gave a talk about the upcoming Turkish animal -slaughter legislation and its requirements to better protect animals from suffering. Dr. Ellen Eser, representing the BSI, trained everyone on animal-welfare during slaughter, from arrival of the animals to the actual bleeding out.
After the seminar, several Turkish meat companies and Halal certification organizations approached us. They want to meet with us again to analyse the welfare of the plants that they buy from and certify. We are hoping together with them, we can force certain plants to change, weed out the bad ones, and give opportunities to the ones that are making significant improvements. Additionally, the Turkish slaughterhouse equipment companies want us to give this seminar again to many more slaughterhouses that they work with. What an opportunity to create change!
We thoroughly enjoyed hosting this seminar and were most impressed with the audience. By spreading knowledge and best practices and giving positive reinforcement, positive change will come!