News

What’s behind Twiggy Forrest’s ‘No pain, No fear’ beef slaughter process?

Jon Condon, 09/09/2021

WESTERN Australian entrepreneur Twiggy Forrest recently fired a salvo at eastern states red meat processor JBS – and indeed, the broader meat processing industry – over their pre-slaughter animal welfare performance and standards.

In full page newspaper advertisements appearing in metropolitan daily newspapers across Australia last month, Mr Forrest mounted what he called a ‘public challenge’ to JBS’s customers over the company’s animal welfare performance.

Andrew ForrestHe used a term not previously heard in the red meat industry – ‘No pain, No fear’ – to describe an advanced pre-slaughter process developed at his WA beef processing facility, Harvey Beef.

“The ideal of No Pain No Fear can be confronting to many in the beef industry,” the company said in last month’s advertisements. “It can feel like an impossible challenge to overcome, or a phrase which should be kept out of sight, and out of mind. But profits cannot take priority over the pain and suffering of an animal.”

Mr Forrest claimed that within his own processing business, Harvey Beef, there was ‘no compromise’.

“We don’t believe that any animal should be made to suffer, and we don’t want to hide from the issues around the ethical treatment of the animals in our care,” he said earlier.

“I’m very proud to say at Harvey Beef we have introduced the ‘No Pain No Fear’ framework for the last moments before processing – which, if not managed ethically, can be a stressful time for livestock.”

The company said its definition of ‘No Pain, No Fear’ was an unwavering commitment to eliminating pain and fear from the last stages of an animal’s life.

“For us it’s not just a license to operate, it’s genuinely what drives us. We are coming up with new terminology, because some of things we are striving to achieve don’t currently exist. Our end-to-end supply chain and commitment to always do more in regards to No Pain No Fear and Environmental Sustainability means our customers don’t have to compromise their values when they choose a Harvest Road product,” the company said in a statement.

“We are committed to continuous improvement of animals’ physical and mental wellbeing and are determined to achieve the highest level of animal welfare in the world. Harvest Road’s No Pain No Fear vision inspires us to go above and beyond existing animal welfare standards to eliminate pain and fear for animals.”

In response to reader requests, Beef Central asked Harvey Beef and parent company, Harvest Road for some clarification and explanation about what was involved in the ‘No-pain, No fear’ pre-slaughter process. The company has now shared some details. It’s up to readers to decide whether the procedure is significantly different from routine pre-slaughter animal handling practised widely across the industry.

Sensory enrichment program

Harvey Beef describes what it calls a ‘Sensory enrichment program’, developed to cover the animal’s final 50 metres of life at the abattoir.

The ‘sensory enrichment’ process encompasses sound, sight, smell and feel, as described here:

  • Sound: The use of acoustic wall material to reduce noise stress; elimination of loud noises in the vicinity of the race; and the use of shock-absorbed low-noise swing gates
  • Sight: Improved visibility for the animal is provided by continuous illumination; and testing for the positive impact of visual aids
  • Smell: Barriers are provided to eliminate odour from the processing floor; the scent of lucerne hay is provided by vents
  • Feel: Electric cattle prods (jiggers) are replaced with an ‘airbuzz massager’; flooring is standardised for familiar feel under foot.

Animal handling considerations under the framework include the use of “skilled stock persons passionately committed to low-stress, and stock handling principles based on natural herd animal behaviour.”

Harvey Beef said its research concepts and ideas behind the program have been developed using behavioural observations, stress hormone measurements and physiological measures.

The company says it will release a research paper on the topic later in 2021.

“The Harvest Road culture prioritises the wellbeing of animals and ensures our behaviours are always in the best interest of animals,” the company said.

“We go beyond the Five Freedoms to provide animals the highest level of physical and mental welfare possible across the five domains of nutrition, environment, health, behaviour and mental state.”

“Our people are empowered with the knowledge, skills, equipment, and leadership to safely care for animals,” the company said. “We are passionately committed to continuous improvement through generating ideas and science backed innovation to set global best practice animal welfare standards.”

The company said it aimed to take a leadership role in driving positive change on animal welfare through education and engagement with industry, consumers, governments and other stakeholders around the world.

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply to Damian Harrison Cancel Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your comment will not appear until it has been moderated.
Contributions that contravene our Comments Policy will not be published.

Comments

  1. Shane murphy, 19/09/2021

    Well done it’s great that a company is working to improve its way of processing Live stock and setting the bar higher for the rest of the industry to follow.

  2. Liz Watson, 19/09/2021

    What a load of BS! Sensory Enrichment Program. What next? No matter any way you look at this subject or the many wonderful soft worded phrases used in the ways of ‘gently’ killing an animal…
    It’s killing an animal to eat it!
    Reading this article puts me off even more to want to eat beef, lamb, pork or any other living thing! Ugh! Disgusting!
    And before anyone makes a comment..I’ve lived out on a sheep station for many years but I also was very much against any sheep cruelty.
    Hence eventually I left that sort of harsh cruel life.

  3. Hardeep Saini, 18/09/2021

    With no pain, no fear process, there is no room for halal slaughter. I like that.

  4. Julie Jager, 18/09/2021

    No Fear No Pain is a true humanitarian concept towards cattle, and hopefully, all animals that are to be killed to feed humans. Kudos to you Mr Forrest.

  5. Christina Bunzeck, 16/09/2021

    This is something to celebrate,I applaud Tiggy Forester thank you

  6. Richard Le Mesurier, 16/09/2021

    Good onya Twiggy Forrest. Following the world-changing example of Temple Grandin in the USA, this type of research and learning leads to better stock management and higher quality meat.

  7. P. Westland, 16/09/2021

    Great start, and even better, it puts out a challenge to all processors.
    Temple Grandin (?) worked on yard designs to lessen stress for stock and people ( frustrated and angry stock handlers can behave badly),
    Also more producers are selling direct to the feedlot and processors – again less stress.
    So, in summary, the whole process is improving, and will continue to improve!

  8. Wiz Laurence, 14/09/2021

    This is a very good step in the right direction, but I would like it to go much further, I would like to see a total ban on all live animal exports. Only frozen meat products exported.
    Just watching the sheep and cattle in those ships makes me angry. If everything was butchered, packed and frozen , how many more jobs would that create. Plus, if you watch some of the videos of how the country’s in the Middle East treat the animals, it’s barbaric.
    I do know what goes on in abattoirs , as I worked in one for 2 years. Thank you for reading this, wiz

  9. J Smythe, 14/09/2021

    Harvey Beef’s criticism of JBS is hypocritical, because Harvey subject their cattle to inhumane long-distance travel and are only concerned about the animal’s last 50 meters. However all cattle transported to their abattoir from the Kimberley, undergo stress/fear and pain.

    Of all cattle transport routes, Kimberley to Harvey of over 2500 kms is the longest. Harvey purchases thousands of cattle in the Kimberley each year for transport to their abattoir in Harvey.

    During which trip:
    • Temperature drops from 30 in the Kimberley to below 8 in Harvey.
    • Cattle have to stand for the entire 36 hour journey.
    • Cattle are subjected to the wind-chill factor on open-air trailers designed for shorter trips.
    • Pregnant cows do not get access to water every 4 hours.
    • Only a truck driver is in charge of the welfare of cattle. No trained personnel (vet) inspects them during the journey.
    • Cattle suffer respiratory issues from inhaled dust on unsealed roads causing pain and breathing difficulties and death.
    • Cattle suffer bruising which is evident when their carcasses are inspected.
    • Cattle’s fear/stress is reflected in their loss of condition.
    • On average a 3% mortality rate exists – testament to pain endured on the inhumane trips.

  10. Ruth Farr, 14/09/2021

    Wish there were more people in the world like Twiggy Forest. Congratulations on the animal welfare issue as well as all the other wonderful achievements. May you be granted a long life to continue to value add to our planet.

  11. Phil Rundle, 14/09/2021

    Once again Twiggy Forest has shown what an innovator and leader he is . Good one

  12. MAXINE Crawford, 13/09/2021

    I am disgusted. What a load of rubbish. They only care about money not the animals. If they cared they would not kill them. I am considering becoming a vegetarian😖

  13. Colin Anderson, 13/09/2021

    Your efforts to instill kindness are very appreciated. Thank you Twiggy.

  14. Brad Shaw, 13/09/2021

    Hey sounds great, I wish I could be slaughtered like that, mood music, the smell of freshly cut grass, soft underlay carpet grass and not see how the other 500 cattle before me had their throats slashed. That would make it all so much more woke. Very happy for twiggy to use this PR exercise to get the vegan Wookiee’s off his back, but please don’t criticise other Butchers and slaughterman businesses for supplying great value food(protein) to the world. “Don’t talk about being a good man, be a good man”

  15. Louise, 13/09/2021

    I think this is fantastic, it’s a step forward in implementing change for the good of animals. Compassion over profit ,Well done Andrew..

  16. Jan Cook, 12/09/2021

    Hallelujah people who actually care about the animals in an industry that just treats them as a commodity of protein value. Congratulations Andrew.

    • Adrian Cittadini, 13/09/2021

      You are confused with Kosher. And even this ritual is performed humanely

  17. Greg Cooper, 12/09/2021

    Twiggy Forest you are a great Australian wish you to be our next PM

  18. Annie O'Carroll, 12/09/2021

    Thank goodness. Let compassion and kindness prevail. When people In positions of power start change, the rest of industry will follow. Thankyou Twiggy, you are a true leader – animal welfare before profits. For too long we have arrogantly ignored animal pain and suffering in favour of commercial gain.

  19. Greg Young, 11/09/2021

    So Harvey beef doesn’t use Halal slaughter?
    Halal slaughter is the cruelest possible way to despatch an animal and should be banned.

  20. Damian Harrison, 11/09/2021

    Isn’t Harvey Beef Halal certified? The animal can’t be stunned prior to having it’s throat slit and left to bleed out. How is that taking care of the welfare of the animal?

    That’s incorrect, Damian. All Halal kill in Australia involves stunning before ritual slaughter. Editor

  21. Kevin Muir, 11/09/2021

    It’s amazing that persons ( of self assured superior intellect ) who are expressly downgrading ‘Twiggy’s ‘ animal care program actually have zero constructive criticism , read,nothing of value to say that may help the animal care program.

  22. Tony Yates.tya8., 11/09/2021

    A progressive, safe, humane procedure.
    Better handling.
    Better product
    Better result.
    Producing a
    World Class delicacy.

  23. Ross Thompson, 11/09/2021

    I totally agree with Forrest’s ideas,the killing methods in Killing centres,is archaic in the general terms,the animal is a very sensitive item can smell of blood ,uncharacteristic surrounds,noise. I say very cruel ,I would like to see the ceasing of all live animal export to any country unless it is frozen.

  24. Robert Jackson, 11/09/2021

    More great news from Twiggy’s empire. A great way to treat our beloved animals in their last moments. Thankyou.

  25. Ross Noble, 11/09/2021

    That is good that the animal is calmed down but how is the beast finally put down

  26. Geoffrey+Beere, 11/09/2021

    good morning, I was fortunate to observe in Benghazi Libya, Australian Cattle that were being Halal Slaughtered, at point of sale most displayed very favorable muscle colour. Butchers would purchase a truck load of cattle from the feedlot [around 12 x 500kg live weight cattle] per week, held at the slaughter yard. this might be 6 days supply, when exiting the feedlot, labour would weigh and load sufficient feed concentrate into poly bags, sufficient to last until the cattle were all processed. cattle usually had a residue of feed in there mouth at Slaughter.

  27. Helen, 11/09/2021

    This is really good news. Well done Twiggy and all your staff. Thank you for recognising that animals raised for our pleasure have an inherant value and dignity .

  28. Neil strong, 11/09/2021

    I think it’s about time animals were treated properly before they are killed MR Forrest idea is a step in the right direction for industry.

  29. David Connellan, 10/09/2021

    The aroma of lucerne hay wafting into the race? The installation of ‘airbuzz’ massagers? Come on!

  30. Tony Berry, 10/09/2021

    As a licensed meat exporter for years in the past I’ve been in slaughter sections of abattoirs all over Australia and in a number of other countries. Then I retired at Xmas after working for 5 years at one of Australia’s biggest beef processors and believe that my own opinions on slaughter practises are based on significant personal experience.
    Serious attention to animal welfare in the final slaughter process is long overdue, so I welcome the initiative from Twiggy Forrest’s operations. The quietest, least stressful process that I have seen in Australia myself is Nolan’s at Gympie where product quality and maintaining their long held status as a producer of superior quality beef sees a huge focus specifically on animal welfare during the slaughter process. So I wish Harvey Beef well and hope they have similar success, but it will require an enormous shift in paradigm for the larger “commodity beef processors” to ever catch up with the smaller throughput plants who literally revere their brand reputation for “quality”.

  31. Anthony (Bim) Struss, 09/09/2021

    I was saddened by Twiggy’s comments denigrating other Processors for their lack of good animal welfare in the last 50 metres of an animal’s life.
    In my time on Cattle Board, AgForce worked with the major Processors the likes of Teys, NH Foods, JBS, ACC, Nolan’s, Stanbroke and others ….rest assured all these companies rate animal welfare as an extremely high priority in their businesses.
    Rather than berate competitors, if Twiggy really has developed practices that help diffuse fear in the last 50 metres then share it with the Industry to make it a better place.
    Animal Welfare should never be used competitively. It is a given in the Cattle Industry today…..an expectation of our consumers.

  32. Paul Franks, 09/09/2021

    I can only imagine that at this organisation males and female cattle are all worth the same for reasons of gender equality, there is certainly no discrimination against cattle with disabilities, and cattle of all diverse backgrounds are welcome and encouraged. And they all combine to create a synergistic multiverse of seamless well being.

    Sensory enrichment program indeed.

  33. Tony Duncan, 09/09/2021

    I have only heard that amount of BS spin coming from the Qld government, what a load of bull ( excuse the pun)
    Cheers

  34. greg weller, 09/09/2021

    The technology levels used to identify stock handling are world leading.As a family who supplied stock toHarvey Beef since its inception in 1919 these advancements are great for the industry as a whole.

Get Beef Central's news headlines emailed to you -
FREE!