The campaign to expose the harmful, violent, and destructive reality of the animal agriculture industry.

‘The conditions are catastrophic’: Inside Germany’s factory farms


Franz Voll: Everyone should see an animal being slaughtered, that would be important. It should be a school trip, and then maybe it would be a bit easier for people to understand.

DW: From cramming livestock together in crates to needlessly brutal methods of slaughter, the factory farming industry has repeatedly been accused of engaging in animal abuse for the sake of profit. Yet, it remains incredibly difficult for journalists to gain access to slaughterhouses and verify these claims.

To get a clearer picture of what actually goes on inside factory farms, DW spoke with someone who knows the industry better than most — retired butcher and food inspector Franz Voll. Parts of this interview are included in DW’s environment podcast On The Green Fence… He has written several books on the dubious practices of factory farms and has openly criticized major companies in the industry…

DW: What are factory farming conditions like in Germany?

Franz Voll: The conditions are catastrophic, of course. But the main reason for that is that farms with intensive livestock breeding are dependent on the meat industry and in some cases are controlled by it. And it’s just all about money, nothing else, just profit and gains…

DW: We asked around at some factories ourselves but got no responses, so it’s not easy for journalists to get inside either. Is that a reason why so few violations get reported?

Franz Voll: First off, these buildings are generally barred from the public like nuclear facilities. The next problem is that inspectors can’t go public with anything we find. So if we do find something, we start a process. Whether that’s for a fine or criminal proceedings, it all happens behind closed doors, and that’s the end of it. So, none of us are allowed to leave and say, let’s give my friend at the newspaper a call and tell him what’s going on. That’s not allowed…

DW: Can you remember the first animal you slaughtered?

Franz Voll: Of course. It was a bull, and it’s incredible but I can still remember that its market number, cut into its ear with scissors, was 291. I’ll never forget that. We brought it back to the slaughterhouse, and then a steel bolt was shot into its head with a special tool, and it collapsed. But its not dead, it’s just brain dead. Its heart has to keep pumping so the blood comes out. It was strange when it fell down and spasmed. It gave me a strange feeling. Then it was pierced and a huge fountain of blood ran out. And I have to say at that point I did ask myself if I had chosen the right job. But I stuck at it…

DW: Do you think everyone should have that kind of experience?

Franz Voll: Everyone should see an animal being slaughtered; it should be a school trip… That would be important. That’s what it used to be like in the villages. And everyone who saw it treats animals with a different kind of respect. And then maybe it would be a bit easier for people to understand that they should eat less meat. SOURCE…


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