TIR files criminal complaint against slaughterhouses in Moudon and Avenches
The animal rights group "Pour l'Egalité d'Animale (PEA)" published video footage from slaughterhouses in Avenches and Moudon in the canton of Vaud on its website www.abattoirs-suisses.ch. The footage shows serious violations of the Animal Welfare Act. The Stiftung für das Tier im Recht (TIR) has filed a criminal complaint against both companies with the competent public prosecutor's office.
October 15, 2018
The capability to suffer and the sentience of farm animals (particularly cattle, sheep, pigs, and goats) is often ignored in the conventional meat and dairy industry, despite the fact that these animals are equally covered by the scope of the animal welfare legislation as are all other vertebrates. Their welfare and dignity are protected by law, as is the case with dogs and cats. Animals are to be respected in their intrinsic value, not as mere goods and a means to someone else's ends. The principle laid down in article 4 of the AWA, according to which anyone handling animals must meet their needs as best as possible and ensure their well-being as far as the intended purpose permits, also applies during the slaughter of animals. According to article 179e of the Animal Welfare Ordinance (AWO), the operator of the slaughterhouse is responsible for compliance with the provisions of the animal welfare legislation. Slaughterhouse employees may not inflict unjustified pain, suffering or harm on the animals, frighten them, unnecessarily overexert them or otherwise disregard their dignity.
Based on the video material, TIR filed a criminal complaint complaint against the slaughterhouses in Moudon and Avenches with the public prosecutor's office in Yverdon-les-Bains. According to Giovanni Peduto, cantonal veterinarian of the canton of Vaud, the cantonal veterinary office has already initiated administrative measures and a criminal proceeding. When TIR asked the public prosecutor's office of Yverdon-les-Bains in May 2018 whether criminal proceedings had been initiated based on the footage released, the latter stated that it could not provide any information on the matter. TIR therefore deemed it necessary to file charges against the two slaughterhouses.
Contrary to the statement made by Georges Louis Berchtold, chairman of the board of directors of the Moudon slaughterhouse, in an interview with the Sonntagszeitung, in which he claimed that the videos show "a series of technical incidents" with the "intention of creating the impression that there was cruelty involved", the footage shows multiple sequences in which animals are treated with excessive brutality. It will therefore be up to the public prosecutor to investigate the criminal offenses of animal abuse and killing in a cruel manner.
The investigation must clarify, in particular, whether the slaughterhouse employees must be punished for violating the animal welfare legislation or whether the incidents in the two slaughterhouses are the result of structural problems attributable to the operators of the slaughterhouses or other responsible bodies.