Wednesday 12 March, 2014
We took the barren ewe and the tup to the abattoir on Wednesday. We were told to be there at 8am, and it's an hour and a half away so we decided to load them the night before. The trailer was duly bedded with straw, bucket of water and pile of hay - then the two followed a bucket in for the "last supper". Car hitched up ready for a quick getaway in the morning :-)
In the morning, both were lying cudding - we'd kept them together for a couple of weeks so they knew each other. Off we went, on time at 6.30am. Arrived just on 8am; did the paperwork and went to unload them.
What a bloody nightmare :-(. The entrance to the abattoir is dark, so the sheep weren't that keen to go from daylight to dark. Dan and I were pushing them from behind. The slaughterman grabbed the ewe by the neck wool and was dragging her; she dropped to her knees and he kept dragging her along the concrete. Too much for me - I told him in no uncertain terms to stop it and let her get to her feet. Well, the abuse I got - finger pointing in my face and shouting at me. I was really upset; we got the two animals in and went back to the car. I was shaking and crying - and furious. I have complained - time will tell if anything changes. I am concerned about how they were moved after we left - if that's what he's like in front of us, what's it like when we're NOT there. No vet to be seen, btw. Maybe it is time there is CCTV in all abattoirs.
The problem is that we don't have a realistic alternative at the moment. Our butcher deals with this abattoir - I have also spoken with him about the events of Wednesday and he has spoken with the abattoir, so time will tell. I plan to write to the operators explaining the lengths we go to to try to minimise stress - it's not helpful if it's all undone at the end.
Maybe I should send them a copy of Temple Grandin's work :-)