A abattoir, or slaughterhouse is where animals are slaughtered for food products. Slaughterhouses are constructed and designed for the efficient killing and slaughter of animals on an industrial scale. Over 9 billion animals are killed every year in slaughterhouses. Slaughterhouses may claim to be humane but that can’t be further from the truth. Many of the ‘humane’ practices fall anything short of brutal and sadistic when investigated. The conditions in the slaughter house are tormenting and have been carefully hidden from the public. The ideal farm with the red barn, free range happy animals, and farmer who cares deeply for their land and slaughters animals with love is a myth. The truth is animals are raised in confinement by the thousands on mega ranches with little or no care for their individual needs when it’s time to ‘harvest’ the animals are shipped to a facility where they are systematically murdered in the most horrendous ways.
Cows, Sheep, Pigs
We need only to take a look at the kill floor to expose the brutality of industrial slaughter. There is blood flowing, pooling and drying into sticky ooze mixing with piles of excrement containing E-coli. The workers wear knee high rubber boots as they make their way thru the sludge and guts on the floor.
Animals are strung along a conveyer belt, hung by their heels. The purpose of the first stop is to stun the animals, rendering them unconscious by electrical shock. For pigs the preferred stunning method is an oversized pair of tongs that are fitted upon the faces of the pigs. An electric shock is delivered through the tongs in order to render the animal into a “passive state” (aka. violent seizure). Slaughterhouse workers are known to cheat and reduce the legally mandated duration of the electric shock in order to boost efficiency making an already horrifying and painful process even worse. The preferred killing method for pigs is hang them up by their heels and cut their throat’s with a knife endearingly referred to as a ‘pig sticker.’
The treatment cows get is equally inhumane and unethical. The captive bolt gun used as the first step in the slaughter of a cow is a device that forces a bolt fired by pressurized air into the brain of a cow. Under ideal circumstances that rarely exist it is known for about 95% accuracy in delivering painless immobilization. This leaves 1 out of every 20 cows with an immeasurably painful, seizure inflicting hole in their head as they are dragged to be hung upside down to face the, more than likely, dull knife that will be inserted into their throat and heart. Don’t forget that this is under ideal and almost nonexistent conditions; what actually happens has been witnessed to be much worse.
The animal is then moved down the line and chopped up for commercial sale, their head is removed, as well as front and rear feet. Next their hide/skin is removed by down pullers, side pullers and fisting off the pelt. Hides can also be removed by laying the carcass on a cradle and skinning with a knife. Due to the fast pace of slaughterhouses during skin removal the digestive tract is often severed spilling feces everywhere and contaminating the meat. The internal organs are then removed and inspected for internal parasites and signs of disease. The viscera are separated for inspection from the heart and lungs, referred to as the “pluck.” Livers are separated for inspection, tongues are dropped or removed from the head, and the head is sent down the line on the head hooks or head racks for inspection of the lymph nodes for signs of systemic disease. Approximately 45-50% of the animal can be turned into edible products. About 15% are waste, and the remaining 40-45% of the animal is turned into byproducts such as leather, soaps, candles (tallow), and adhesives. The industrial nature of the slaughter house is most chilling, throughout the process no accommodations are made for the animals involved, animals are simply seen as property, objects to be processed or rendered into sellable products. This is the horrifying reality of slaughter; the animal is compartmentalized from their feeling and wellbeing, seen as existing for human use and profit. Then different parts of the animal are compartmentalized from its whole and seen as individual objects further abstracting the animals from who they really are, a living breathing, conscious, being with intrinsic value unto themselves.
Whether from the standpoint of animal advocacy, worker’s rights, or consumer safety the view of a contemporary slaughterhouse promises to horrify even the most insensitive of us.
The conditions in slaughterhouses are both un acceptable and unethical they must be abolished in order to ensure the safety, wellbeing, and freedom from abuse of the 9 billion animals a year that are killed in them.
The birds, generally in about the 7th week of a potentially 7-year life span, are slaughtered in a frighteningly automated process. The animals are hung upside down by their feet and dragged through a pool of electrically charged water in order to “stun” them. Many animals do not get fully stunned and are left terrified and fully conscious. Next they face an automated cutting blade that is supposed to cut their neck and drain them of their life. This is a horrific, bloody and most of the time, fatal scene, but not all animals die at this point. Countless animals miss the neck blade because they are jumping and throwing themselves around trying to free themselves from the leg holding devices. Electrified and with throats slit many survive to face the next stop on the conveyor belt which will consist of being boiled alive. Imagine being stuck hanging upside down, being electrocuted, being cut up, and then being boiled alive in a tank. This happens every second, every minute, every hour of every day.
The birds who make it to slaughter houses have never pecked in the dirt looking for bugs, many have never felt the sun or felt the wind against their feathers. The horrific conditions for birds in slaughterhouses are extremely disturbing and unjustifiable.
Non-human animals are not the only ones exploited in slaughter houses. Due to the particularly brutal work, fast pace, and skill level slaughter houses often are often hotbeds for workers’ rights violations and ill treatment. The u.s. department of Labor labels slaughterhouse work as one of the most hazardous jobs. As a slaughter house worker you would repeat the steps listed above dozens of times throughout your workday. You would also witness how 1 out of every 20 times the “stunning” isn’t effective and leaves the animal writhing in unimaginable pain. Your job would not make you happy or emotionally fulfilled and over time you may start to hate the animals for struggling and making your day harder. This is the emotional response of many workers in slaughterhouses, the conditions and long hours lead to horrific abuse. Undercover footage has shown slaughterhouse workers beating, torturing, and raping animals.
Cows, pigs, chickens, and other animals are suffering through every horror mentioned here right now as you read this. These death factories operate nearly nonstop and offer countless terrified and suffering individuals the heartless, painful and brutal extermination described. These practices detail a long history of animal abuse and exploitation, we must break the cycles. Slaughter houses are particularly vulnerable places often left unattended for long stretches. It is important that we do all that we can to attack the economics of the industry and oppose the corporations and power structure that support it.
Another way to resist is to stop eating meat, dairy products or eggs. Changing your diet no only abstracts you from supporting the abusive animal enterprise it also displays your solidarity with oppressed animals and people fighting the industries that oppress them.
There are over 1,100 slaughterhouses in the united states, for a complete list visit http://finalnail.com/slaughter.htm