Today Eyes on Animals visited Agri4+ slaughterhouse in Lichtenvoorde. It is a relatively small slaughterhouse, where pigs, cattle and sheep are slaughtered. The advantage of small plants is that there is often less time pressure to process large number of animals per hour, and thus more time to handle the animals calmly. But still, the personnel and equipment need to be good in order to keep suffering as low as possible. For this reason Eyes on Animals is working on a project to make small plants as humane as possible, with the latest better-practice ideas in place, such as rubber on gates to dampen noise, corn kernels and bedding in the pig waiting pens so they can root and risk of fighting is lowered, corral crowd pens and well- designed restraint boxes to keep fear low when moving animals through.
Our aim is that in the future meat sold as ” free-range or welfare-friendly or Beter Leven 3 star” comes from animals that not only had a better life, but also had lower stress and suffering during slaughter. We did not observe yet the slaughter at Agri4+ but were given a tour of their installations and we held a productive conversation. Agri4+ director and manager agreed to start putting measures in place to reduce the noise of the gates when closing and to start sprinkling corn kernels in the pig pens. More ideas are coming and during a follow-up visit we will observe, and give feedback, on the animal handling during slaughter.