It can still happen that pigs are boiled alive before slaughter, because slaughterhouses do not check enough whether they have actually been killed just before. In 2019 and 2020, inspectors from the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority saw this happen six times. This is apparent from inspection reports requested by animal rights organization Varkens in Nood and viewed by NRC† It is not clear at how many different companies the abuses were found.
At slaughter, pigs are first intoxicated with CO₂ and stabbed to death, after which they are washed in a so-called scalding tank of sixty degrees Celsius. Inspectors found several cases where the pig was still alive, for example because the slaughter worker had not correctly stabbed the animal. In the reports, an inspector said he saw an animal “severely burned” and “eventually drowned.” The lack of proper control causes “unnecessary and avoidable suffering”, according to the inspector.
The NVWA inspectors prepared a total of 21 reports in 2019 and 2020, in which other abuses are also mentioned. For example, they noted four cases in which a sick or injured animal was not put out of its misery in time. The pens at two slaughterhouses were also overcrowded and the inspection saw a pig being physically abused by a slaughterhouse employee three times. A spokesman for the NVWA was unable to say on Wednesday morning whether fines had been imposed on the slaughterhouses involved as a result of the findings.
In 2018, research by RTL News that in Dutch slaughterhouses things go wrong more often when killing animals. If a mistake is made, the animals will live while the slaughtering process continues. In 2020, the NVWA announced that inspectors could issue fines earlier if they found abuses in the slaughterhouses.
Varkens in Nood finds this insufficient and wants, in addition to physical surveillance, also camera surveillance in all slaughterhouses. This supervision should be mandatory and accessible to an external inspector. The cameras should also have techniques that automatically record any wrongdoing. In August last year, the then outgoing minister Carola Schouten (Agriculture, CU) already imposed the mandatory use of cameras on a slaughterhouse in Epe, Gelderland, after it had to close for several months due to animal abuse.
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