Animal welfare organization Ongehoord has released shocking images, showing that pigs are being seriously abused in one of the largest Dutch slaughterhouses. Upon arrival, animals are brutally beaten out of trucks, sick animals are hunted and crippled animals are pulled by their tails.
The forbidden practices were brought to light by a group of volunteers who made undercover images in the pig slaughterhouse. The research editorial staff of RTL Nieuws has the images in their hands and has gone through more than 100 hours of footage.
The undercover images were made in the Westfort company in IJsselstein, where organic pigs and pigs with a Beter Leven Keurmerk are slaughtered. Around ten thousand pigs are slaughtered there every day.
Slachthuis Westfort wants to be the most modern meat company in the world and, in its own words, is committed to animal welfare. « We believe that people should get a fair picture of how animals are kept, transported and slaughtered, » one of the volunteers of Ongehoord told RTL.
Slaughterhouses are nothing like the natural environment where pigs feel safe. Upon arrival the animals smell the urine of stressed peers, so that they know that there is a danger. Lower slaughtering speeds will not change this. # slaughterhouses # pigs
– Unheard of (@OngehoordNL) January 31, 2020
According to RTL News, it touches once or more every day. During the beating, a kind of paddle is used, which is intended as a rattle to get the animals moving. Pigs in the corner are also beaten hard by stable staff and drivers.
The instructions of the NVWA supervisor state that when unloading the animals, stress must be limited as much as possible. Also that animals must be given the time and space to walk in the right direction themselves, and they must not be dragged out of the trucks. It is therefore remarkable that the NVWA really does nothing against malpractice and is even accessory. The images show that NVWA veterinarians also participate in the abuse. Westfort told RTL News that in the second half of 2019 the company did not receive any official warning or fine from the pig abuse supervisor.
Shocking! And completely predictable: pigs are abused in slaughterhouses. Even under the eye of @_NVWA and « voluntary camera surveillance ». https://t.co/sEUqrggUH0
– Pigs in Distress (@pigsensood) January 31, 2020
Westfort says to be shocked by the images and takes immediate action. ”Let no misunderstanding exist: we do everything that is necessary to prevent a recurrence. This is in line with the reputation of our company that is seen as a leader in animal welfare, « the slaughterhouse said in a response to RTL News.
The company says that existing permanent camera surveillance has now been intensified. A team with, among others, two of their own veterinarians is now structurally monitoring the images. An investigation has been initiated and the rules in the stable have been tightened. In addition, the slaughterhouse announces that the rattle is no longer used.
Minister of Agriculture Schouten is also very shocked by the images and will intervene at the Dutch slaughterhouses. The high production speed would prevent the NVWA from properly monitoring the welfare of the animals. That the emphasis is now too much on saving costs is at the expense of animal welfare. The minister will also ask the NVWA for clarification about why the regulator does not intervene and even participates in animal abuse.
The minister wants to further introduce camera surveillance in slaughterhouses, but wants to dampen expectations. Because despite the fact that Westfort was fully equipped with CCTV, these horror practices were able to take place.
Excellent that Minister Schouten of @minlnv is also taking measures. # slaughterhouses #pigs #dierleed #RTL https://t.co/z4jg31QIah
– Animal protection (@Animal protection) January 31, 2020
Animal rights organization Varkens in Nood also announced earlier this month that pigs are being cooked alive. This emerged from reports that Varkens in Nood received from the NVWA. The documents, which cover the period from January 2018 to July 2019, show that in some cases it was poorly checked whether the animals were unconscious, with the result that pigs drowned screaming and violently in glowing hot water. NVWA inspectors witnessed this six times in a year and a half.
Let me guess; the investigation shows that it is an ‘incident’, the employee receives a reprimand and we proceed to the order of the day. Please note: this is a slaughterhouse that profiles itself as ‘conscious’ and ‘organic’. Animal friendly meat does not exist. https://t.co/t6qEZe6Y74
– Janine Abbring (@JanineAbbring) January 31, 2020