Today a team from Eyes on Animals was accepted by Van Drie to receive a tour of their calf slaughterhouse in Apeldoorn, Holland. Calves slaughtered here are the male calves from the dairy industry as well as the female calves that are not kept to replace the dairy herd. They are raised on fattening farms in the Netherlands. A number were born in Germany, Belgium and sometimes Estonia, Czech Republic, Lithuania and Poland and are at a young age (2 weeks) transported to these fattening farms in the Netherlands. The calves destined for “white veal” are 8 months of age when slaughtered, as opposed to the “rosé veal” which comes from calves that are a few months older.
During the tour we took a close look together at the unloading ramp, the traction of the floor, the raceway, the handling of the animals by the workers and the behaviour of the animals during each process. We identified many positive things, such as their anti-slip floors, solid-sides along the raceway to keep animals calm without distractions, and no use of electric prods but rather just plastic flags and the hands of the workers. Additionally, the calves slaughtered for the Halal market are stunned before slaughter under guidance of a Muslim religious authority, who agrees that stunning is indeed fully in respect of Halal as the animals are unconscious but still alive, and their welfare is better guaranteed than having to experience the slaughter process while still conscious. According to Halal rules, the welfare of the animals is supposed to be always guaranteed and respected. He was a very knowledgeable and engaged individual that we enjoyed talking to.
Nevertheless, there were a few points that we feel confident, if the plant were to take them into consideration, would lead to further improved welfare. We will send them our recommendations and stay in contact with them. We hope soon to be able to publicize some “good news” results should they act on our recommendations.
We would like to thank the people from the slaughterhouse for taking the time to show us their plant and for placing value on holding an open and dialogue with us.