There’s no such thing as ‘humane’ slaughter!
This is the reality of the meat and dairy industries. Whether factory farmed, zero-grazed, ‘free range’ or organic, when cows, pigs, chickens and other animals reach the slaughterhouse their fate is the same. Taking the life of an animal who does not want to die is a profoundly terrible act. You can end this by choosing vegan.
Warning: Graphic content
More than a billion farmed animals in Britain are killed each year in slaughterhouses. In 2016, there were 278 licensed slaughterhouses in Britain. Government statistics reveal that over 10 million pigs are killed each year, almost 50 million boiling fowl (including so-called ‘spent’ hens), and one billion broiler chickens. Other animals killed for human consumption include turkeys, ducks, fish, cows and goats. The majority of animals killed in slaughterhouses across Britain are young. In fact many are just babies. Piglets are just six months old when they are sent to their deaths and ‘meat’ chickens six weeks. Male dairy calves are shot on-farm at just one or two days old. Every person who chooses to eat meat, eggs or dairy are complicit in the deaths of thousands of baby animals in their lifetime.
Not only the young go to slaughter, but also the unborn and the pregnant. Viva! has previously reported on the killing of 150,000 pregnant cows a year and, in 2017, an investigation in Scotland found that animals were still being slaughtered whilst heavily pregnant.
Many consumers like to imagine the killing process to be a sanitised, humane affair. Yet death at the slaughterhouse is invariably brutal and violent. A high throughput poultry abattoir can kill 9,000 animals an hour, and each of these animals will have felt shock, pain, and fear beforehand. Animals suffer at markets, during handling, transport, pre-slaughter penning (lairage), and in their final moments.
Stop the massacre of pregnant animals
Viva! revealed that 150,000 pregnant cows are sent to slaughter each year – many approaching full term. Nationwide high street protests followed, forcing the reality of animal slaughter into the public domain.
Now, we have received pictures of fully formed calves and piglets who have been cut from their heavily pregnant mothers on the slaughterline. These animals may already be capable of independent life yet they are simply dumped alongside piles of intestines. They are the forgotten victims of the meat industry. Abattoir vet Gabriele Meurer has witnessed the slaughter. She told Viva!, “Sometimes when pregnant animals are hanging on the line bleeding to death, you can see the unborn babies kicking inside their mothers’ wombs.”
Pregnant animals and their unborn babies are offered virtually no protection by the government, who state that they, ‘do not believe further legal measures are necessary to protect their welfare. Viva! disagrees. We are pushing for change by taking this horrific new evidence to the public and to the media. Please join our campaign and help us to publicise the depraved, heartless attitude that lies at the heart of modern meat production.
“When the suffering of another creature causes you to feel pain, do not submit to the initial desire to flee from the suffering one, but on the contrary, come closer, as close as you can to him who suffers, and try to help him.” – Leo Tolstoy
Campaigners across the world are bearing witness to sad and frightened animals who are about to be killed for the dinner plate.
The photos and video taken by The Save Movement give these animals the recognition they deserve and help to awaken compassion in people. Their eyes can tell us not just about their last moments on earth but also the suffering they have endured throughout their life. Just like us, dairy cows need to be pregnant to produce milk and so, in order to satisfy demand, cows are forced to give birth every year until they are exhausted – then they’re sent to slaughter.
When she is loaded onto the transport truck on its way to the slaughterhouse, she is exhausted. And heartbroken.
The eyes of a cow reveal a lifetime of suffering. Getting up close and personal with these animals is an emotional experience. Each has a story to tell.
“One of the things that constantly shocks people I speak to is how young farmed animals are before they are killed. Despite advertising and other popular notions to the contrary, farms are not benign places for farmed animals. Most are intensive factories designed to get animals from birth to slaughter in the quickest time possible. They are certainly not sanctuaries. The positive is, of course, all this death is avoidable. No farmed animal – regardless of whatever age they are – has to die for you if you choose to stop eating meat, eggs and dairy products. The best way to end the suffering of animals is to go vegan – or at least start in that direction.” Justin Kerswell, former Viva! campaigns manager.