Animal welfare in slaughter plants
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There are five basic causes of animal welfare problems in slaughter plants: 1. Poorly designed or improper stunning and handling equipment. 2. Distractions which impede animal movement, such as sparkling reflections on a wet floor, air hissing, high-pitched noise or air drafts blowing down the race towards approaching animals. These distractions can ruin the performance of a well designed system and cause animals to become excited. When this happens, prodding will be required to make them move. 3. Lack of employee training and poor supervision of employees by management. 4. Poor maintenance of equipment and facilities, such as malfunctioning stunners or worn, slick, floors which cause animals to slip and fall. 5. Poor condition of animals arriving at the plant, such as cripples and sick animals. Another problem is pigs and cattle from excitable genetic lines which are more likely to become agitated during handling To maintain a high standard of welfare, all five problem areas must be addressed. A survey of 29 Canadian slaughter plants indicated that 27% had excellent non-slip floors and 21% had slick floors which would cause animals to slip. Twenty-four percent had high pitched motor noise or hissing air exhausts that caused animals to balk. Air drafts blowing down the race toward approaching animals were a problem in 9% of the plants. Air drafts will often impede animal movement.