For more than a decade, German filmmaker Manfred Karremann has been reporting on the treatment of animals, particularly the abuses of livestock. His undercover documentaries contain disturbing footage of cattle transports, where cows suffer shocking treatment on the way to slaughter. Many are transported across three countries – a journey that can last as long as a week. And despite stricter laws, animals with injuries – even those with broken limbs – continue to be transported. While Karremann’s exposes have earned him awards – as well as threats – they have also brought needed attention to the efforts of some farmers to reduce the amount of suffering livestock endure.
Deeply concerned about the well-being of his animals, Austrian farmer Herbert Schwaiger has developed an innovative means to reduce the stress and suffering cattle experience just prior to slaughter. Instead of subjecting the animals to a long, cramped and painful journey to the slaughterhouse, Schwaiger has created a mobile slaughter truck. The truck drives from farm to farm and two butchers take care of all the work. This makes an animal’s last journey short and free of fear and stress.
In addition to being a more humane process, this treatment has also proved beneficial to farmers and their customers. Studies have shown that stress lowers the quality considerably. When animals are constantly forced to balance themselves in transport vehicles, the sugar in their muscles is used up, which negatively affects the quality of the meat.
This film chronicles the efforts of Schwaiger and others, including organic farmers, to encourage a more humane treatment of livestock. These proponents argue that eliminating unnecessary stress and fear will result in higher quality meat. And better meat means healthier living.
WARNING: Some viewers will find the images of cattle abuse and scenes of slaughter disturbing.
In German with English subtitles.