Slaughterhouse Jive, Legal and Illegal
An Animal Rights Article from


September 2011
As published in The Geelong Advertiser

THIS week, in the Queensland city of Ipswich, a man was jailed for two months for trespassing, stealing a pet cockatiel and causing it extensive bodily harm.

FINAL ROAD: The journey of chickens to the processing factory can involve horrible conditions, argues Jenny Moxham.

The offender, 24-year-old Daniel Bradow, was attempting to break into the Old Miner’s Diner at Ebbw Vale on July 2, but instead decided to steal a five-year-old grey cockatiel, Jo Jo, who was kept at the back of the business.

As Jo Jo’s owners appeared and realised what was happening, Bradow stuffed the bird under his jacket, breaking its beak, wing and leg. He then pulled out the bird and swung it at the couple – pulling out its tail feathers and internal organs in the process.

The bird had to be put down. Reading this news item I couldn’t help but think about the billions of other unfortunate birds who sustain extensive bodily injuries at the hands of man. Injuries that are simply regarded as ‘‘acceptable’’ because we enjoy eating their flesh.

The birds I’m referring to, of course, are chickens.

The catching and transport of broiler chickens prior to slaughter causes immense pain and distress. Gangs of catchers move through the sheds, each holding several birds upside down by their legs and cramming them into crates which are then loaded onto trucks. Dislocated hips, broken wings and legs and bruising are common occurrences.

Transport to slaughter can be a considerable distance and the birds may be exposed to extremes of weather.

On reaching the slaughterhouse, the chickens are removed from their crates and hung upside down, shackled by their feet to a moving conveyor belt.

An undercover investigator in a Victorian slaughterhouse recalled: ‘‘I had many encounters with individual birds that still haunt me. Some of the birds flap so hard they lift their heads up so they are looking at you from between their legs, and they stare straight into your eyes.’’

Occasionally, she said, birds would try to escape as they entered the hanging room, running and flapping, often landing on the metal hanging room floor, only to be left there by some of the hangers and trodden on.

Some chickens would attempt to hobble along the floor, only to fall directly off or fall down the steps to the concrete floor two metres below.

If any chickens fell to the factory floor they would be hooked around the neck and dragged through the water and faeces, then literally thrown onto the hanging room floor.

Surely the question we need to ask ourselves is, are we guilty of having double standards?

Jenny Moxham is an animal rights campaigner. She lives in Monbulk.

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