Shut Down VION! visited Vion's cattle slaughterhouse in Tilburg today. We hadn't announced our visit and Vion did not allow us inside like Eyes on Animals. In fact, Vion took several pictures of us, even when we made it clear that we didn't want this. When we took pictures of the unloading of cows, we were made to erase the pictures. Don't worry: we managed to keep the footage.
Below more information about this lesser known slaughterhouse of Vion.
Discarded dairy cows
Vion specialises in the killing of discarded dairy cows. This often goes wrong: for example, the slaughterhouse in Leeuwarden was closed after several abuses were found by the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA), and sick cows were illegally slaughtered at the Vion slaughterhouse in Buchloe (Germany). This is not surprising: cows who have been exploited for their milk, are often too weak to walk, and are discarded because of all sorts of health problems related to the absurd milk production. In the Netherlands, the average dairy cow is only 5.5 years old, while she can get many times older. The slaughterhouse sometimes kills a calf or bull, but this only happens a few times a year, according to Tilburg's manager.
The "career" of the dairy cow
Vion's cattle slaughterhouse in Tilburg is the only one Vion has left in the Netherlands. According to Vion, the company mainly slaughters Dutch cows here. The "organic" cows for De Groene Weg (Vion's "bio" brand) are also slaughtered here. This makes little difference to the cows, they are all slaughtered in the same way: stunned with a gun and then their throats are cut.
During our visit we saw several trucks with cows, varying from trucks with dozens of cows to a few small trailers that only fit one cow.
According to the slaughterer, these are cows "at the end of their career". This sounds as if these animals are allowed to rest for a while in a nice place after a pleasant life. This is far from reality: cows are literally milked out, constantly made pregnant, their children are taken away and when the "production" goes down, all that remains is the hell of Tilburg.