The animals are neither slaughtered nor taken out of the slaughterhouse. More than 1,100 goats and sheep have been living without leaving for three weeks in the pens of the Cárnicas Sierra Sur company facilities located in Andújar, waiting for a solution that does not arrive. The usual thing is to slaughter them in two or three days after they enter, and the more time passes, the weaker animals die. It all started on May 27, when the Andalusian Regional Government’s Ministry of Health and Families temporarily suspended the activity of this ungulate slaughterhouse after having detected that they were not complying with “the measures related to well-being during their slaughter despite the warnings carried out by official veterinarians ”, reports a spokesperson for the regional Executive. They also discovered infractions related to the inspection and hygiene itself, he adds. 32 channels were intervened [porción comestible de los animales] of goats and 126 carcasses of sheep, but I do not know the fate of the rest of the goats and sheep that were still alive.
The slaughterhouse employs the halal rite (slaughter of animals according to the prescriptions of the Koran) and exports the meat to Arab countries. On June 16, an inspection returned to the slaughterhouse where they verified that the suspension of the activity was being respected and that the animals had food, water and straw. It was planned that the next day they would be slaughtered, but the slaughterhouse owners refused, because “they wanted to slaughter them, confiscate them and not use them for human consumption, when nothing happens to them.”
The department has communicated to the company that in order to resume the activity, it must adopt the necessary measures that guarantee animal welfare, hygiene and inspection. These will be verified for 15 days before definitively lifting the suspension. There will also be a permanent surveillance by the official veterinarians, who, adds the same spokesman, have been traveling to the facilities to verify that the animals are in an adequate state. The Seprona of the Civil Guard has also intervened and is conducting periodic monitoring to check the status of the animals. At the moment, they have not opened criminal offenses and they have no evidence that animals have died.
“We have nothing to hide, it all comes from a discussion with a new vet. What happens, that we started to do it wrong from then on? ”, Say company sources, who add that they have already denounced the veterinarian and announced that he will go against the Administration. “We are going to demonstrate to the court that the cessation of activity is illegitimate, we do not have any type of health alert that justifies a total suspension. In addition, we have an animal welfare audit ”, they add.
The fault that the sheep and goats are still alive until now is the “Delegation of Health, by regulation they should have given us several days to slaughter them”, they add from the slaughterhouse. “Agriculture gave permission to transfer them to another slaughterhouse, but when we had already found it, we received a notification from Health of Jaén denying the permission.” And there they are, in the corrals.
An answer as soon as possible
Criticism intensifies from the Podemos group. “We do not understand how the Junta de Andalucía is allowing this situation, how they leave the animals there, without going out for weeks and suffering,” says Lola Rodríguez, provincial head of Podemos Jaén. They demand that an answer be provided as soon as possible. “If they have decided that these animals are not viable for human consumption, then give them a way out, you cannot close a slaughterhouse with more than a thousand goats and sheep inside without knowing what to do with them,” says Rodríguez.
To avoid cases of this type that lead to animal abuse, the animal rights organization Equalia calls for the installation of a closed circuit television camera (CCTV) in all slaughterhouses, whose images are regularly reviewed by the Official Veterinary Service. In addition, at the end of the year the approval of a royal decree law by the Ministry of Consumption is expected to establish measures to control animal welfare in slaughterhouses with the installation of video surveillance systems. “Spain will thus become the first country in the EU to approve a regulation of this type, since, until today, installation is only mandatory in the United Kingdom,” warns Villaluenga.