Eyes on Animals conducted an unannounced visit to Leeuwarden cull-cow and bull market yesterday, in the Netherlands. We have been working at this market for years, ever since we saw downers being dragged onto trucks there 15 years ago and animals tethered tightly onto railings, unable to lie down. It is much better now and recently they moved to a new location, where they had the chance to make further improvements, many of which we recommended. We were not allowed to roam throughout the market due to corona restrictions, but we observed that all animals are now housed loose in group pens (no more tethering at all), each pen had an automatic water trough, bulls were housed individually to prevent fighting, there were large fans hanging from the high ceilings to keep the air fresh, there are now 4 unloading docks now instead of just 3 to keep waiting times down, there are no more steep ramps and there is still lots of straw bedding.
We could not check the fitness of each animal, but their private veterinarian was present. Of course it is still extra stress for animals, especially culled-cows, to have to first pass through a market, but we do have to acknowledge these very positive improvements. Even one of the market managers admitted that the way it used to be is no longer acceptable for them. Let’s keep industry moving in this better direction !