Dear friends and supporters,

As an animal-welfare inspector, you sometimes have to turn off your emotions. But there are moments when you can't do this. Last week there was such a moment. Together with my colleague Margreet I visited a farm where male goat kids are fattened. We knew that this is a shadowy world: bucks (male kids) are a waste product of the goat-dairy farming industry. Because the new-born males have so little economical worth, care is minimal and the mortality rate is sky-high.

What we found was too horrible for words: dead, still-alive and very weak bucks laying together in heaps. In the hallway there was a big barrel filled to the brim with dead baby goats. I was trembling where I stood. I will never forget the bucks that looked at me with big, innocent, blue eyes and softly bleated. Just born and already having suffered so much injustice.

We alerted the NVWA (Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority) and they sent a team immediately to the site. Animals were put out of their misery and the case is going to court. They are now also undertaking a large-scale investigation into the welfare of goats at other buck fattening farms. What was found out? The situation that we uncovered is no exception! At half of the other goat buck fattening farms in the Netherlands, the NVWA found the same horrific conditions. The companies have been ordered to improve the situation immediately and many fines have been imposed.

It's really good, of course, that the NWVA takes strong action. But I can't stop feeling guilty. I cannot shake off the thought that I should have taken all the surviving bucks with me. Of course, you will get into trouble if you do that. But then they would, at least, have been in good hands.

I am grateful for the support and the encouraging words that we receive. They make it possible for us to continue to carry out these types of heart-aching inspections. These inspections are desperately needed in order to prevent more suffering.

Eyes on Animals
IBAN: NL73TRIO0212364219 | BIC: TRIONL2U
Triodos Bank, Zeist, Netherlands.

Many thanks for your support,