Analysis of the Knowledge Level of Slaughterhouse Employees and Evaluation of Online Training to Improve Animal Welfare
Author(s): Svea Nicolaisen, Christa Thöne-Reineke, Lisa Buchwald, Harm Kuper, Mechthild Wiegard
The study focused on the importance of animal welfare and the need for training in the livestock industry, particularly in slaughterhouse. It reflects the public concern over animal suffering during transport and slaughter. The research aimed to assess the knowledge of slaughterhouse employees before and after their participation in an e-learning program and to evaluate their assessment of the e-learning program, with the goal of improving online training materials for animal welfare in livestock transport and slaughter. This study utilized an online platform to deliver an e-learning program on animal behavior and cattle handling. The program consisted of two pilot modules with training videos. For each module, an evaluation and a pre-test and post-test were conducted using the same set of questions. Participants were employees in German cattle slaughterhouses, and data was collected through animal welfare officers. This study involved 25 participants, predominantly German-speaking, who completed two pilot modules, a knowledge test, and an evaluation. The participants had diverse demographic characteristics, with varying years of experience and educational backgrounds. German-speaking participants performed better in the pre-test of the animal behavior module, while Romanian-speaking participants scored higher in the post-test. Romanianspeaking participants also outperformed in the cattle handling module. There was a significant improvement in scores from pre-test to posttest in both language groups. Some specific questions were sometimes incorrectly answered in the pre-test but were correctly answered in the post-test. Romanian-speaking participants took longer, potentially due to translation difficulties. Limitations included participant selection and the lack of long-term assessment. Overall, the results suggest that participants had prior knowledge, while knowledge pertaining to specific questions was improved by e-learning, possibly influenced by video-based learning.