Sick and crippled mother cows severely abused in the Netherlands

Sick and crippled mother cows severely abused in the Netherlands
Four men around a crippled cow forcing her to walk using an electric poke stick at company Dane en Zoon, Oudemolen, Netherlands, credit: screenshot video Ongehoord

Undercover footage of cows being abused reveals ongoing cruelty in the Dutch animal transport industry  

Cows were severely abused at a cattle collection center in the Netherlands, footage released on Tuesday by animal protection organization Ongehoord revealed. Authorities immediately shut down the center Dane en Zoon in Oudemolen after the footage was released.

Ongehoord released footage filmed inside the collection center in North Brabant, a location where animals are gathered for further transportation to slaughterhouses. The footage revealed sick cows being dragged by their tails and ears, pulled by their legs, and stabbed with electric prods.

The organization witnessed “mother cows that could no longer walk, were sick, crippled, or terrified” and calves no older than two weeks being “hit, kicked, and driven with sticks and stun guns.”

Even though sick, injured, crippled, or heavily pregnant cows are not allowed to be transported according to European animal welfare rules, Ongehoord revealed that the Dutch authorities don’t monitor this correctly, and these animals are still being transported.

Sick animals should be euthanized at the farm where they’ve been kept. This costs farmers money, so they prefer to have the animals transported to a slaughterhouse, even if the animal is sick, a spokesperson of Ongehoord said.

The new abuse incidents of cows surrounding transportation are not new in the Netherlands, Ongehoord said.

In 2020, Ongehoord published footage from the Westfort slaughterhouse in the Dutch town of IJsselstein, where pigs were beaten out of trucks with flaps. Every day, sick or injured animals were seen arriving at the slaughterhouse. When workers did not have a driving tool, they used their hands and feet to hit or kick the animals.

In 2021, Ongehoord used inspection documents to show that sick and injured animals were approved for export by Dutch regulators. 

At the end of 2022, they released footage of pigs being cruelly driven into trucks with electric shocks and driving boards in the Netherlands.

After Ongehoord released the footage, the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) -responsible for the welfare of farm animals- shut down the cattle collection center Dane en Zoon, describing the images as “shocking and utterly unacceptable.”

“The people seen in these images are clearly not fulfilling their duty to treat and transport animals with respect. It’s clear that the animals in these images are not fit for transport but actually need care,” said the NVWA. 

Dutch animal welfare organizations and politicians criticized the NVWA for repeatedly failing to detect animal abuse at farms and questioned whether they were capable of doing their job. 

The NVWA said that Ongehoord’s footage was primarily recorded during the loading and unloading of the animals, times when no NVWA veterinarians are present, even at locations under stricter supervision.

In response to the footage, the animal welfare organization House of Animals plans to file a complaint for animal abuse and violations of European Transport Regulation rules this week.


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