A safe journey for animals

Atria purchases meat from all over Finland. The production of poultry and pork is concentrated in grain-farming areas, so animals’ journeys to Atria’s slaughterhouses are quite short. For poultry, the journey is between ten minutes and one hour. For pigs, the average journey is three hours. The majority of journeys made by cattle take less than eight hours, but some animals come to the slaughterhouse over longer distances.

Atria’s animal transportation is handled by our contract drivers. The most important duty of the driver and the transportation plan is to guarantee a peaceful and stress-free journey. All of our drivers have been trained in handling animals and in driving peacefully and economically. All of them have completed the test required by the training and hold valid animal transportation licences. The trained driver is responsible for animal welfare throughout the journey. Official veterinarians monitor animal transportation vehicles at slaughterhouses, as well as overseeing the driver’s actions and the unloading of animals from vehicles.

The journey is restful for animals. However, animals may become stressed during loading and unloading. For this reason, the number of animals is minimised through effective transportation planning. Animals are transported in vehicles with appropriate ventilation and, if necessary, heating systems to ensure appropriate transportation conditions, both at freezing winter temperatures and during summer heat waves. If necessary, the animals are fed, and the vehicles are equipped with drinking pipes to ensure the availability of water.  As far as is possible, the animals travel in the same familiar group from home to the slaughterhouse.

At the slaughterhouse

Before the animals arrive in the slaughterhouse, the farms have sent a chain information form to the slaughterhouse. The form contains all of the essential information about the animal’s health during rearing and details describing its well-being.

Official veterinarians inspect all of the animals in the slaughterhouse barn before they are slaughtered. The chain information form and the pre-slaughter inspection ensure that the animals fulfil the requirements for transportation and slaughter and that animal welfare and consumer health are not endangered.

The personnel at the slaughterhouse direct the animals into pens where they can rest.  Water is constantly available, and the animals can also be fed in the slaughterhouse barn, if necessary. The conditions at the slaughterhouse (temperature, ventilation, etc.) are constantly monitored by the employees. Cattle are directed into individual pens in the slaughterhouse barn, and pigs are directed into group sties alongside other pigs from their home farm. Cattle are stunned using a bolt gun, and pigs are directed in small groups with others from their home farm for gas stunning. Chickens are transported in cages from the farm to the slaughterhouse. When they arrive there, they are immediately unloaded for gas stunning.

Checks are made on the line to ensure that the animals are stunned, and exsanguination takes place immediately after stunning.

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