“The most important thing that is done in there is just slaughter. And anyhow they do it, they don’t really mind. And so you bring in the animal, you just restrain it anyhow, they bend the neck, sometimes breaking it and then slaughtering”, Abdul Rahman Safian from West Africa Centre for the Protection of Animal Welfare (WACPAW) says about slaughterhouses in Ghana.
He reveals that animals are brought into the slaughterhouses in cars and other vehicles and are not cared for -neither during the transportation nor during their time at the slaughterhouse.
Safian began working for animal welfare in Ghana in 2014. His organization WACPAW aims at protecting animals from all avoidable forms of pain in slaughterhouses. Six years into the welfare, Abdul shows grave concerns about the ‘messy condition of animals’ in slaughterhouses.
On being questioned about how animals are slaughtered in Ghana slaughterhouses, Rahman says that the condition of animals is not good in these places and says that most facilities don’t have the proper equipment to restrain and slaughter animals.
Butchers care less about how the animal is handled and more about how quickly it is killed with the available resources. “What they do is, they use wrought iron rods to hit the head of the pig, some become unconscious. And then they just need a knife to cut the throats,” Safian says about the slaughter of pigs.
“They just bring the animal in, they pull the ears, the tail and kill him it anyhow. They hit it to get it down and use the knife to cut their throats,” he adds.
Slaughterhouses tend to follow traditional painful methods rather than using electric stunners because they have no access to better equipment.
WACPAW has been reaching out to slaughterhouse facilities with help from the Dutch animal welfare organization Eyes On Animals. They offer electric stunners and training to slaughterhouse workers. They try to educate workers on the benefits of using electric stunners for not only the animals, but also the butchers.
A few big slaughterhouses in Ghana have added electric stunners to their process. But Safian says that there are smaller slaughter slabs in all districts that need to be educated as well.
He also points out that the consuming Muslim population has concerns eating the meat of stunned animals as they consider it a violation of their religious laws. They think the animal is dead when he’s stunned and their religion prohibits them from eating dead meat. But stunning doesn’t kill the animal immediately. It makes the animal lose consciousness and feel no pain when his throat is slid.
WACPAW is involving imams in the country to educate people that the ‘stunning method’ is in line with their religion and also makes the process of death easier for the animal.
Watch the whole interview with Abdul Rahman Safian from WACPAW here.