A man has spent the last 20 years killing and collecting dead animals to make food for lions.
Andrew Goatman is a renderer and despite a job few have heard of, he plays an important role in the agricultural industry. Andrew’s work sometimes sees him having to deliver the final blow to animals that are moments away from death, although he is often called upon when they are already deceased, DevonLive reports.
He then takes them in his truck before heading off in one of three directions – a crematorium, a mass incinerator, or the zoo where they are made into food for animals, including lions. Many people like the zoo option, according to Andrew.
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He said. “It’s a very green choice compared to the others. It uses no fossil fuels and is a delight for lions and tigers. But some people are horrified at the thought of skinning their animal or pet.
There are many parts of Andrew’s work that people would find horrific, especially for those unaccustomed to the harsh realities of farm life. But over the past 20 years, Andrew has actually built a reputation for the level of care he puts into every kill, so much so that he’s one of the most in-demand cutthroats in the South West. It is Andrew who is often called upon to slaughter horses, an animal notoriously delicate due to its ability to pick up on human emotions.
“I actually started this job for the welfare,” said Andrew, who spent eight years working on farms caring for cows and horses before moving into rendering. “I didn’t feel there was enough care from some companies.”
Most of Andrew’s victims are herd animals: horses, cows and sheep. By the time Andrew comes out to see them, they’re usually on their deathbed – if not already dead. Herd animals are masterminds when it comes to hiding their illnesses. By pretending they’re okay, they avoid being rejected by the herd, as it jeopardizes the safety of the whole group. Instead, they trotted around, masking their agony, until it went far beyond what could be dealt with.
“I’ve seen horses with broken legs roaming the grounds pretending there weren’t any fractures,” Andrew said. “There are a lot of cases where the animal hides it for so long that by the time you realize what it is, it’s too late to save it.”
Andrew’s first call on a Wednesday morning, a dairy cow that had become so lame she could barely move. A veterinarian had come to see him several times, but to no avail. As he drives towards the farm, the cows raise their heads and follow our movement. “Here I am the girls, it’s me!” Andrew said, though you can’t imagine they’d be thrilled to see him.
The cow in question was kept in the same shed as her companions. Andrew talks to her. “Here, here is my daughter,” he said. This lasts for several minutes, until a loud cracking sound is heard followed by a slow thud. After the work is done, the other cows show little dislike for Andrew. They gather to smell their deceased mate and don’t cower when Andrew approaches to tie his hoof to a winch.
“You can tell if a cow died of pain or not by how the others reacted,” Andrew said as the carcass was dragged into the back of his truck. “If we get the cow excited before we do it, run after it, or hit it, there will be adrenaline in its system now. All those other cows would have been terrified. They can actually feel that fear.
Andrew’s job is to keep an animal as calm as possible before killing it. He does this not just to avoid an adrenaline rush within a herd, but because he thinks killing doesn’t have to be cruel. “There’s no need to be cruel, ever,” Andrew said. “You have to make sure everything is very human.
“Each animal is slightly different, even within a species. You have to play each case based on what is best for the animal you kill and the animals that remain.
Over the years of work, Andrew has developed a method for each animal that varies according to its temperament. But it wasn’t just the weather that made him a pro. Andrew has Asperger’s Syndrome, a type of autism that manifests differently from person to person. Many high-performing people with Asperger’s attribute their success to the syndrome because of the unique perspective it gives them.
In Andrew’s case, he says it helps him see things from an animal perspective. “I am sensitive to loud noises. It’s the same with animals, you kind of have the same extreme sensors,” he said.
“I’m very good at seeing things in pictures, so I tend to see things from an animal perspective. Anything dark and moving in their peripheral vision can be something attacking – so you need to get good lighting. It makes a big difference for the animals.
It is common for people with autism to end up with a specialty. Andrew is out of breath. Her autism helps her understand what is best for the animal and has encouraged her to pursue the subject in her spare time. It’s even why Andrew chooses to use a gun over lethal injection despite many people considering it less barbaric.
He explained: “One of the things with autism is that you tend to choose a subject that you study. Mine just happens to be laying stuff down. I’ve looked at all the different ways we do it. It’s quite interesting and quite alarming.
“The injection can be quite slow. I mean, you can’t breathe for a few seconds, which can be alarming. So why do we use injection? Well, it’s for owners, not pets. If you looked at things from the animal’s point of view only, you would choose only one of these two methods.
Andrews’ favorite method is to shoot an animal directly in the brain. His bolt-action pistol can enter at 700 mph. The animal is really dead before they know it.
Andrew isn’t the first autistic person to get an erection. Temple Grandin is a American scientist and animal behaviorist with Asperger’s Syndrome. She was one of the first scientists to discover that animals perceive danger in visual distractions, such as shadows, dangling chains or large objects close to their heads.
His research has led to significant improvements in animal welfare in slaughterhouses. Like Andrew, Temple also sees things in pictures, which has guided much of his work around humane slaughter.
“There are people doing the work for welfare, which is quite common among people with autism because we have this distance. I love animals, but I can take their life. I can put a block in it, which most people would find very difficult to do,” Andrew said.
There are, however, some in the industry who are in it for the blood. Andrew said: “The problem with bloodthirsty people is that they usually start out doing their job well and then they start experimenting. They are bored. Suddenly they become very barbaric. CCTV inside slaughterhouses, which is now legal, is something I have supported for years.
Andrews’ expertise succumbs to showdown by far. He also showed veterinary students how to dissect a horse at Dartmoor Zoo behind glass panels (presumably to avoid splashing). He was also the man who set the trap that finally caught the Lynx that escaped from Dartmoor Zoo.
Andrew managed to track the Lynx by searching for the sheep it killed and setting traps accordingly. He studies slaughterhouses in his spare time and his methods are tried and tested by years of work.
With horses, Andrew will use one of his smaller handguns and make sure the horse is distracted. “I tend to use a feed bucket,” Andrew said. “I hold the bucket and move the horse’s head using the feed rather than a halter. This way the horse eats quite happily and the last thing he knows is his favorite treat.
With cows, Andrew will keep the animal close to his companions to avoid the stress of separation. “This herd is the most important thing. The moment you start putting them alone, if they’re not used to being alone, they’ll be really stressed,” Andrew said.
One technique André uses to calm an animal is to talk. ” I speak to them. I caress them. I reassure them,” Andrew said. “The calmer you can keep them, the better for them. If you have to go, that’s the way to go.