Basic Causes of Animal Welfare Problems

To correct an animal welfare problem, first determine the cause:

  1. Stressful Pre-Slaughter Handling
  2. There have been numerous research studies on stunning methods, but until recently, stress and discomfort during a lairage and movement of the animals to the stunning point was neglected.

  3. Distractions that Impede Animal Movement
  4. Animals will often balk and stop moving through a handling system if there are distractions such as sparkling reflections, air blowing towards the animals, movement or high pitched noise.

  5. Lack of Employee Training
  6. Maintaining a high standard of welfare requires constant management attention and vigilance.

  7. Poor Equipment Maintenance
  8. The two major maintenance problem areas that the author has observed are poor captive bolt stunner maintenance, and slick floors.

  9. Poor Condition of the Animals Arriving at the Plant
  10. A recent survey of U.S. cow and bull slaughter plants indicated that 1% of the cull beef cows and 1.1% of the cull dairy cows arrive downed and unable to walk (Colorado State University, 1995). Most of these animals were in bad condition before they left the farm.

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