In my 30-year career as an animal scientist, I have focused on two areas of cattle and pig treatment badly in need of major improvement: farm housing and slaughterhouse handling.
In my 30-year career as an animal scientist, I have focused on two areas of cattle and pig treatment badly in need of major improvement: farm housing and slaughterhouse handling. Measurements of direct field observations have proven to be a reliable method for improving animal welfare in these areas.
Housing and related welfare issues of concern that should be assessed are
To improve animal welfare in slaughterhouses, I have designed a simple numerical system of plant performance that focuses on the following critical control points:
Five-year consecutive audits of industry plants with this scoring system have shown that these slaughterhouses now achieve better than the minimum performance scores. A numerical scoring system provides tangible results and encourages continuous improvement.
Scientific and ethical considerations call for improved and humane farm-animal housing (e.g. phasing out sow stalls and finding ways to make group housing work) and handling in slaughterhouses. However, the farm-animal industry is only slowly embracing animal welfare standards and the practical systemic audits that assess humane treatment by measuring directly observable outcomes in the field.
Temple Grandin, PhD
Department of Animal Sciences
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1171