The exposure at Kolbotek- investigation on Tnuva's slaughterhouse
Watch: Kolbotek's investigation on Tnuva's slaughterhouse
Kolbotek's exposure is based on an undercover investigation in "Tnuva Beef" slaughterhouse in Beit-She'an. The undercover investigation revealed hard, methodic and openly done abuse, while violating Tza'ar Ba'aley Chayim law's slaughter regulations, cattle transportation's regulations as well as international acceptable standards, anchored in the guidelines of the international animals health organization.
The abuse was performed at the very least with the slaughterhouse's management's turning a blind eye, and at least in the most part under explicit orders from above. Some of the abuse is a result of the slaughterhouse's inadequate structure: the structural problems cause intolerable crowdedness in the waiting areas, and to the animals' resistance to move in the passageways, this resistance enhances the violence on the unskilled on its own staff's part. Some of the abuse is an outcome of unacceptable procedures, lack of training, lack of skill as well as the lack of sensitivity of all of those who are involved in the care for the animals.
The findings show that the management was well aware of the abuse and the systematic violation of protocols, regulations and laws, and has even ordered some of them. The findings also indicate on a complete malfunction on the supervising veterinarian's side, that has even claimed in front of the undercover investigator that the Tza'ar Ba'aley Chayim law (literally means: awareness of the suffering of animals), does not apply on the slaughterhouse's grounds. In light of all that, it is certain that the abuse of animals' will proceed unless the slaughterhouse will be closed immediately. Should the reopening of the slaughterhouse be reconsidered in the future, it can be done only after drawing all of the conclusions, and under a new management, a new staff and all of the physical malfunctions repaired.
Systematic abuse documented in "Tnuva Beef":
The life conditions in the waiting compounds
While awaiting, between being unloaded in the slaughterhouse and being led for slaughter, the animals are held in extreme crowdedness, standing packed to one another without any space between them. In accordance to the international standard (clause 7.5.3 2 (c)) the animals are to be provided with enough space to stand up, lie down, and turn.
The awaiting animals are supposed to receive water, however due to the crowdedness most of them cannot reach the water. This is a violation of the international standard (clause 7.5.4 (5)), and of regulation 8 (b) of the Tza'ar Ba'aley Chayim law (protection of animals) (cattle transportation). In Tnuva Beef, the animals also aren't fed while awaiting slaughter for up to 72 hours. Even had food mangers been placed there, the crowdedness would have prevented the animals from reaching them.
A continuous, intensive use of electric shockers
Our undercover investigator received on his first day, from the manager who brought him in, an explanation on how to keep the animals moving: "you have a shocker, stick it in his ass, he'll move. Anyhow he'll move ". From the pictures taken there, it seems undoubted that this is the working principal in the place. You can see a methodic, routine and continuous use of electric shockers, which the workers are equipped with as their main tool, among which:
• The electric shockers are used on animals as the first means to make them move.
• The shockers are used on animals who cannot proceed, since the passage ahead of them is blocked by other animals.
• At times the shockers are used dozens of times on the same animal.
• The workers aim the shockers to all of the animals' organs, including the head and testicles.
• An intensive use of shockers is performed on animals who cannot stand up on their own.
According to the international standard (clause 7.5.2 (1)(e)-(f)), electric shockers may be used only in extreme situations and not as a routine. A repetitive use of them on the same animal is forbidden if he still doesn't move. The use is restricted to the backside of large ruminates only.
Not only electro-shocking are routine in Tnuva Beef. The pictures show a routine of physical beatings with the electrical shockers, plastic rods, using sticks and kicking. The beating is aimed at all of the calves' and lambs' body parts, including the head. The workers also hit "downed" calves and animals who cannot proceed since the passage ahead of them is blocked by other animals. This too is a violation of clause 7.5.2 (1)(e)-(f) of the international standard and of the regulations for cattle's transportation.
The treatment of "downed" calves
Calves who cannot stand up on their own and walk are "treated" systematically with violence and electric shocks. In one documented case many dozens of electric shocks are directed to a single calf who has a hard time standing up – including to his head and face, on the ear and next to his eyes, on his neck, back, legs, back, anus, stomach and testicles. The camera documents his shrieks of pain. In other cases documented there is an intensive use of electric shocks and violence towards the "downed" calves, trying to crawl forward under the massive use of pain. However when this method fails, they are roped with a wide strap to a mechanical tool, and are hauled on the ground up to a point outside the pen where they are slaughtered. The international standard (clause 7.5.2 (1)) forbids any attempts to move animals faster than their own pace, on use of the type documented of violence and electric shocks. Furthermore the standard forbids, in the same clause, the hauling of animals, as has been done in "Tnuva Beef" as standard procedure.
Hauling and tossing sheep
The method of moving sheep in "Tnuva Beef" is by hauling. The hauling is performed by catching a sheep by one of his legs (front or rear), while sometimes the sheep manages to stay standing on his other three legs and at other times he is dragged on the floor. The investigation includes a conversation with a manager who confirms to the secret investigator that the way to move sheep is by hauling them using one leg and the extra use of force. Also documented are the hurling of sheep at the floor, throwing them in the air, catching them by the head and by the horns, and beating with plastic rods and sticks using extreme force. All of which are violations of Tza'ar Ba'aley Chayim law, and a violation of the international standard.
Other cases of violence
One of the workers is documented in the films while standing on the sheep's backs, and beating them with a stick; laying on the sheep's backs; while inserting a stick into a calf's anus and beating another calf with his fists. The investigator has also been exposed to a worker putting out a cigarette on a calf's body. All of these cases took place openly, in front of everyone, including the supervisors.
Treating the animals after the slaughter
The films clearly show people touching the animals' wounds, tossing sheep from the slaughter area to another platform (in one case at least the sheep fell to the ground) and hanging animals in the air. All of these actions being done without performing a loss of consciousness test, and at times while the animals still exhibit clear signs of consciousness (an elevation of the head) and/or when less than 30 seconds passed after making the incision. According to the international standard (clause 7.5.9) no further procedures are to be done before the bleeding has ended (30 seconds in mammals, according to the standard). There's no need to broaden further about the severity of a painful touch, let alone hanging, of a still conscious animal – and in the case of cattle, they very well may remain conscious for over two minutes after the cutting of the throat. Therefore the rash management of the animals, without making a loss of consciousness test (such as checking eyelid reflex, which is considered to be an indicator for this matter), is especially sever. This is a violation of the Tza'ar Ba'aley Chayim law as well as of regulation 44 of the slaughter regulations.
Lack of workers' training, lack of procedures and management failure
The workers that performed the undercover investigation did not receive any training regarding the treatment of animals in their work. When the undercover investigator asked the plant's manager about the fact that he did not receive any training, he was told: "if you weren't guided on the matter, probably no one required it". Regarding trainings that are being done to people in the plant he said: "we sign them up that they have read and understood". After the undercover investigator informed the manager regarding things that make a clear violation of the law the manager said: "If you haven't been updated or guided about something specific, leave things the way they are at the moment". When the undercover investigator was first accepted as an employee he was guided, as mentioned, to make a regular use in the electric shocker. In another opportunity a man of a managerial position guided him on how to catch a calf by his eyehole as means for restraining him.