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July 22, 2022
The last moments of the lives of horses and cows transported to a slaughterhouse in Rzeniszów are marked by tremendous suffering. During the investigation, we documented abusive and illegal practices carried out by the employees of the Józan meat processing plant.
Over the past few weeks, Open Cages investigative activists were monitoring the operation of the Józan meat processing plant in Rzeniszów, Silesian province. The evidence we collected leaves no doubt – animals were abused on a regular basis with the approval of everyone present at the unloading of animals.
The footage recorded by Open Cages activists shows workers using violence to deal with the resistance of scared animals. Cows are beaten on their heads with clubs, jabbed with a sharp bar, and hit with a gate. The cruel acts, besides the physical pain, are a source of huge stress, which could be easily avoided even in the light of the applicable law. What we see in the footage is an absolute violation of the law.
The video also shows the workers binding the cows’ legs, wrenching their tails, and pulling their horns. Such brutal and inhumane treatment of animals contributes to additional stress and pain, as well as mental suffering.
Live animals were transported together with ones in agony. The activists noticed that cows which were not able to walk on their own were forced inside the facility with a loading ramp. Dragged and shoved on the floor, jerked, totally objectified, conscious of their fate until the end.
A few years back, the media reported on ‘downers’ (pol. leżaki) – cows in such a poor condition that they were unable to walk on their own but were nevertheless killed in slaughterhouses in appalling conditions to reach the shelves. Unfortunately, as our materials show, it was not an isolated incident.
Using a drone, the activists recorded a container filled with animal heads located on the premises of the plant. The container is not secured in any way and may therefore pose a threat to the local ecosystem. Another serious violation is the absence of a veterinary doctor who, in line with the regulations, should supervise the unloading of cows and horses.
On the basis of the collected materials, we notified the prosecutor’s office of a suspected crime – namely, animal abuse.
The investigative journalists of the Polish broadcaster TVN (‘Uwaga’ program) took interest in the footage.
As a result, one of them sought employment in the slaughterhouse in Rzeniszów to see if the violations still continue. In the Wednesday issue (6.07.2022) of the ‘Uwaga’ program, we could see that the procedure of accepting ‘downers’ (animals in such poor condition that they could not walk) in the slaughterhouse was not an isolated incident.
When asked to comment on the incidents, the district veterinary inspector Adam Sroka said: ‘This behavior is wrong. I would like the footage to be sent to me so that I can visit the plant and verify the situation’.
The owner of the slaughter house comments: ‘It was done wrong, I don’t know why.’
Despite the documented acts of abuse towards sentient beings, the manufacturer’s website boasts a high quality of meat and an exceptional nutritional value of the products on offer. The meat industry once again builds its image on high-flown slogans, misleading customers and willfully using innocent animals to their advantage.
Only by working as one can we improve the lives of farm animals.