THE BLOG

Slaughterhouse Shutdown: A Horror Story With a Happy Ending

20/11/2014 13:30 GMT | Updated 20/01/2015 10:59 GMT

More often than not I write about horror stories with less than happy endings.

Today I am writing about - yes, a 'horror story' - but one with a happy ending that I believe my organisation, Compassion in World Farming and all of our supporters, have helped to bring to fruition.

In an investigation that my team carried out last year, we witnessed some of the most horrific slaughter conditions that any of us have ever seen. Animals were beaten, dragged by their limbs, had their eye sockets gouged and were suspended from the ceiling for extended periods of time before their throats were cut. They were fully conscious while all this occurred.

Karantina, the home to this horror story, is Beirut's biggest abattoir. One where many animals, including European ones, ended their lives in fear and agony. It was the stuff of nightmares and we asked people from across the world join us in speaking out against this barbaric and unnecessary violence.

I am delighted to say that more than 130,000 people signed Compassion's petition calling for the abattoir to be shut down. Following this, we met with the Lebanese embassy who were overwhelmed by the volume of correspondence they received on the issue and committed to contact Lebanese officials to alert them to the situation.

Our French office coordinated a meeting with an MP who had connections in Lebanon and they told the Environment and Agriculture Minister that they must visit Karantina to see for themselves. When the Ministers visited they described the conditions as 'catastrophic'.

Not only this, but further horrors emerged - effecting consumers in the area. Lebanon's Health Minister announced that some of the country's most prominent restaurants and supermarkets were selling contaminated meat. The meat was linked back to Karantina and scrutiny of the conditions for animals and related food safety issues mounted.

What's the good news, I hear you asking: where is the happy ending? Well, I am delighted to report that Karantina slaughterhouse in Lebanon has just been shut down. Our work and the assistance of our supporters has brought about this closure.

This closure could just be temporary, while the slaughterhouse is refurbished. I truly hope that this closure is permanent, but if it isn't, I can assure you that we will continue to work with the Lebanese officials to bring about humane slaughter conditions - ones where farm animals don't spend their last hours and minutes in terror and in extreme pain.

Of the many instances of poor animal welfare that my colleagues and I see on a daily basis, inept slaughter is one of the most harrowing because of the fear and pain felt by animals at the very end of their lives.

That is why this potentially happy ending is so pleasing, and why we're celebrating this small but significant victory. But we will continue to fight against cruel and inept slaughter methods wherever they are practised across the world. We still have a lot of work to do.