Chilling Quotes from Slaughterhouse Workers That Display the Reality of 'Humane' Meat
A Meat and Dairy Industries Article from


LCA Last Chance for Animals
January 2018

While there may be a rare farm where animals are housed in reasonably good conditions, these animals are routinely sent to the same industrial slaughterhouses as factory farmed animals, where they face a terrifying and agonizing death as descsribed by these quotes from slaugherouse workers.

dead laying hen
Photo 1: Roodepoort SPCA

Well-intentioned animal lovers tend to rationalize meat consumption by suggesting that animals can be raised and killed humanely. Investigations consistently reveal that so-called “happy” farms subject animals to horrifying cruelty behind closed doors. While there may be a rare farm where animals are housed in reasonably good conditions, these animals are routinely sent to the same industrial slaughterhouses as factory farmed animals, where they face a terrifying and agonizing death.

‘Scald tanks,’ large pools of boiling water, are used to loosen animals’ skin and hair after slaughter. Due to the fast pace at which animals are killed, thousands of farmed animals are boiled alive each year.

scalded pig

“These hogs get up to the scalding tank, hit the water and start screaming and kicking. Sometimes they thrash so much they kick water out of the tank… Sooner or later they drown... I’m not sure if they burn to death before they drown, but it takes them a couple of minutes to stop thrashing.”

When a dairy cow’s milk production declines or she is no longer able to stand, she will be killed. Animals are frequently sent to slaughter while pregnant.

dead cow and calves

“When the cow’s guts fall onto the gut table, [we] rip the uterus open and pull these calves out. It’s nothing to have a live cow hanging up in front of you and see the calf inside kicking, trying to get out.”

Slaughterhouse workers become desensitized to the violence they must inflict upon animals, leading to the unfeeling cruelty that is revealed in countless undercover investigations.

“Pigs down on the kill floor have come up and nuzzled me like a puppy. Two minutes later I had to kill them—beat them to death with a pipe. I can’t care."

Animals raised for food are not viewed as living beings, but commodities to be exploited. Many are abused so severely that they can no longer walk, at which point workers callously drag them to their death.

"If the hog collapses near the front of the chute, you just shove the meat hook into his cheek and drag him forward.”

Animals desperately want to live, and they struggle until their last breath. Like us, farmed animals have an innate desire to survive, feel happiness and joy, and experience the comfort and love of family and friends. Farmed animals do not give their lives to us—their lives are taken from them, violently and unnecessarily.

“But when you’re standing there night after night, digging that knife...They’re fighting you, kicking at you, squealing, trying to bite you—doing whatever they can to try and get away from you… After a while you don’t give a s**t. You become emotionally dead.”

Animals are forced onto trucks for multi-day journeys to the slaughterhouse. They endure weather extremes and it is common for animals to die from dehydration, overheating, or freezing to death.

“A hog will freeze to a truck. They freeze to the steel railing. They’re still alive, and they’ll hook a cable on it and pull it out, maybe pull a leg off.”–Slaughterhouse worker.

Shocking illegal mistreatment of farmed animals during slaughter is not uncommon. Slaughterhouse workers have often been observed inflicting cruel and unnecessary harm upon conscious animals who suffer in agony.

“Workers open the hide on the legs, the stomach, the neck; they cut off the feet while the cow is breathing. It makes noise. It’s looking around. Cows can get seven minutes down the line and still be alive.”

LCA’s 2015 investigation into Crimson Lane Farms exposed the horrifying practice of killing baby piglets by repeatedly slamming them on the ground. This appalling cruelty is legal in the United States.

“Piglets that don’t grow fast enough—the runts—are picked up by their hind legs, they are swung and then bashed headfirst onto the concrete floor…Called ‘thumping.’”


The most effective action you can take to help farmed animals is to stop purchasing animal products. A cruelty free lifestyle is easier than ever, with a growing plethora of delicious animal-free alternatives for all of your favorite meals. Learn more about making a difference for farmed animals here.

Return to The Meat and Diary Industries

Animal Slaughter Kill Counter:

Number of animals killed in the world by the fishing, meat, dairy and egg industries, since you opened this webpage.

0 marine animals
0 chickens
0 ducks
0 pigs
0 rabbits
0 turkeys
0 geese
0 sheep
0 goats
0 cows / calves
0 rodents
0 pigeons/other birds
0 buffaloes
0 dogs
0 cats
0 horses
0 donkeys and mules
0 camels / camelids