Humane Slaughter Simply a Myth

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Humane Slaughter Simply a Myth

By Jenny Moxham
Geelong Advertiser
April 2011

A REPORT concerning the brutal slaughter of a pig outside the Geelong livestock market last week brought forth a barrage of comments from Advertiser readers.


DEATH ROW: Cattle awaiting slaughter.

Miss X wrote: ‘‘I think this is terrible. I don’t have a problem with humane slaughter of an animal, but in the middle of all the people in such a terrible and inhumane fashion — what kind of animals are these people?’’

Non Meat Eater for This Reason wrote: ‘‘This is what animals have to go through all the time for you to be able to eat them. Tragic yes but maybe also a bit of a wake-up call for all those meat eaters out there.’’

Non Meat Eater was totally correct, of course. Every day of the year countless numbers of pigs and other animals are routinely subjected to a death that is every bit as cruel and traumatic as the death endured by this poor animal.

The ‘‘humane slaughter’’ to which Miss X refers is simply a myth.

Undercover footage, and reports from those who have visited abattoirs, clearly reveal that death in these killing factories is horrendous for the animals.

Animal rights campaigner Patty Mark says she will never forget her first visit to an abattoir: ‘‘The cows were in the stun box, their bodies contorted in desperate attempts at freedom, eyes wild with panic, their mouths frothing. I have never seen such fear.’’

She said: ‘‘ Pigs scream the loudest and fight the hardest to escape the knife.’’ She once witnessed the repeated stunning of a pig that caused smoke to pour from his brain and ears, and blood and mucous to fly from his snout.

Undercover video footage taken in a NSW abattoir, showed pigs being transported on a conveyor belt then dropped into drums of scalding water. Many were still conscious when they entered the tank. Some sought to escape by leaping to the floor — a metre or so below, only to be bludgeoned to death by workers.

Slaughterhouse brutality is widespread and worldwide.

Recent undercover footage taken in UK slaughterhouses by Animal Aid showed animals being kicked, punched, goaded and dragged into the stun room. Almost all pigs at one abattoir were improperly stunned the first time, suffering electric shocks severe enough to floor them but not powerful enough to render them unconscious.

In an article in Saturday’s Advertiser entitled, ‘‘How could they?’’ Darryn Lyons wrote: ‘‘I am absolutely appalled at what some people do to animals ... I just can’t believe the cruelty they inflict on these poor creatures.’’

I feel exactly the same way. But it’s not just the intermittent cases of animal cruelty that apall me. It is the systematic cruelty to animals that takes place every single day inside our farms and slaughterhouses.

Every year, around the world, a staggering 58 billion land animals are brutally — and needlessly slaughtered for their flesh, milk and eggs.

The sheer volume of suffering endured by these animals surely makes the suffering of the other animal abuse victims pale into insignificance.

Clearly, if we want to eliminate animal cruelty, the most effective thing we can do is to eliminate animal products from our diet.