R. Bras. Zootec.20/Sep/2018;47:e20170065.
Knowledge and attitudes of official inspectors at slaughterhouses in southern Brazil regarding animal welfare
We assessed the views, knowledge, and attitudes of livestock inspectors working in federally inspected slaughterhouses in southern Brazil, the major pig and poultry processors in the country, regarding farm animal behavior and welfare, and factors that may influence animal welfare improvements at abattoirs. An online questionnaire with closed and open questions was sent to all the federally inspected slaughterhouses in the three states of the region. All respondents (n = 83) strongly agreed that animals are capable of feeling pain, but fewer agreed that animals have mental states and individual temperament, or that animals can feel boredom or frustration. In the assessment of respondents, professionals in Brazil receive insufficient training in animal welfare; most believe that stockpeople do not understand the relationship between animal welfare and meat quality. Furthermore, most respondents believe that stockpeople are not satisfied with their working conditions at slaughterhouses and are not motivated to adopt practices to improve animal welfare. Respondents reported positive attitudes towards animal welfare but insufficient understanding and training on animal welfare during professional education. The three main actions that, according to the respondents, are required to successfully implement humane slaughter in Brazil are better selection and greater valorization of the stockpeople by the industry; refinements of the legislation to indicate minimum and maximum standards for specific species, practices, and outcomes; and introduction of animal welfare as a topic during the professional training of professionals that will oversee and support the implementation of humane practices in slaughterhouses.