The Verbist slaughterhouse in Izegem, Belgium was shut down by animal welfare minster Ben Weyts on Tuesday after video footage was released showing brutal abuse against cattle. The video was captured by the animal welfare group Animal Rights, who operate in both the Netherlands and Belgium.
The footage reveals haunting violations, including cattle being suspended and having their throats cut while conscious, being slaughtered in front of other, live cattle, causing panic and fear amongst them, and improper and illegal stunning methods. The slaughterhouse also failed to meet infrastructure standards.
Weyts stated that the inspection services are clearly faulty, as they focus far more on food safety rather than animal welfare. He is considering having his ministry take over the inspections within the region.
This event occurred just six months following the shutdown of a neighboring slaughterhouse in Tielt. In a similar situation, the illegal and inhumane actions of the Debra-Group slaughterhouse in Tielt towards pigs were captured on video by Animal Rights. Once released, Ben Weyts called for the immediate cessation of the Debra-Group operation, and it is now under constant video surveillance.
“Following Tielt, I signed a covenant with the sector that raised the bar for animal welfare standards,” Weyts said. “However, I see that inspections have not followed through with that.”
Thanks to the efforts of Animal Rights and minister Weyts, there will be a crackdown on slaughterhouses in Belgium to put an end to the unnecessary abuse suffered by the animals. While slaughter is never truly humane, this is a step in the right direction for animal welfare.
“Mistreatment of animals is quickly forgiven and forgotten when economic interests are involved,” said chairman of Animal Rights Nadine Lucas. “To recognize animals in legislation as living, sentient beings is an absolute necessity for their welfare and protection to be taken seriously.”