Dear friends and supporters,

It was in 2015 when I met Leyla. I was in a slaughterhouse one hour east of Istanbul together with the rest of the team, Asalet and Ellen. We had managed to convince the slaughterhouse employees to clean up the walkway during their coffee break, because earlier we had seen cattle slipping and falling all over the place. We each had a shovel in our hands and were mucking up piles of manure when all of a sudden Asalet disappeared around the corner. I called out but he did not respond. I then looked around to see what had caught his attention - a seriously injured cow, whom we called Leyla, was being hoisted alive out of a truck by a single chain attached to her front leg. 

Asalet was so concentrated he did not even hear me. Leyla was emaciated, one of her legs was broken, and the look in her eyes was of terrible pain and fear. I felt I was going to throw up. One of the slaughterhouse employees grabbed his long knife and starting cutting into her throat.

In Turkey injured animals like Leyla are not euthanized on their farm of origin. They end up being dragged onto trucks and brought to the slaughterhouses. In fact, euthanasia is rarely performed in Turkey. Not even for pet animals like cats and dogs. It is God’s decision when an animal or person will die. Slaughter however is different. If the animal will be eaten, then the animal can be slaughtered for meat. I didn’t understand this logic - if God existed surely He/She would not want any of his creatures to suffer like this.

I cannot get the images of Leyla and other animals I have seen slaughtered in Turkey out of my mind. Also their sounds. For three weeks I could not sleep after my first visit to a slaughterhouse there.

But it is not something we can change overnight. The fact that all animals are sentient and have a strong desire to live and enjoy life is not something everyone is born knowing. It is something that has to be taught.

What is the solution? Not to look away, despite the images being so hard to absorb, but for Eyes on Animals to do something about it.

In 2014 we held our first ever two-day training course for large animal veterinarians and slaughterhouse personnel on how to reduce suffering during slaughter in Istanbul. In 2015 we held another training course, this time in Ankara. We were present at Meat and Halal fairs, to distribute information about animal welfare. And in 2016 and still today we are in contact with supermarket chains in Turkey about this topic. Our aim? That supermarkets will develop and abide by criteria for the slaughterhouses from where they buy their meat. Only this way can we phase out the transport of injured animals, put euthanasia and even pre-stunning into place, and clean up all the other problems inside the slaughterhouses.

It is a long-term project, which requires time to teach people, time to convince them to change, and time for them to find the finances and will-power to make the changes. Already several slaughterhouses have made concrete improvements, but I expect it to take another 15 years before we can say that major changes have been made in Turkey. But if we don’t start now on this long journey, then the animals will continue suffering for even longer. Real change comes with education and changing the mentality of the producer and consumer.

Please, won’t you consider donating to Eyes on Animals so that we can remain active in Turkey to oversee that slaughterhouses drastically improve and suffering is reduced?

Please indicate “Turkey” when making a donation to Eyes on Animals, and we will see that your money goes directly into our efforts there.

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

Thank you very much and warm wishes to you all,