Slaughter

The Footage

This covert vision, filmed in early 2012, supplied anonymously to animal activist group Aussie Farms, shows pigs screaming and thrashing as they gasp for air inside the carbon dioxide gas chambers at Corowa Piggery and Abattoir, Australia’s biggest pig abattoir.

You be the judge of what the industry regards as the most ‘humane’ method to render pigs unconscious before slaughter.

Warning: graphic images

Whether pigs are raised in a factory or free range farm, they all end up at the same place – the abattoir.

It is recommended that animals are free of stress and injury before slaughter to ensure the maximum level of lactic acid in the meat. Lactic acid gives meat an ideal pH level. Animals that are stressed, injured or diseased prior to slaughter have less lactic acid in their muscle.

Animals that are stressed, injured or diseased prior to slaughter have less lactic acid in their muscle.

However, given that every abattoir is under pressure to kill as many animals as possible in the shortest time, financial imperative will always come before animal welfare. Stress before slaughter is inevitable.

Before having their throats cut, pigs are rendered unconscious.

Two common ways to make pigs unconscious are electrical stunning and carbon dioxide gassing.

1. Electrical stunning involves a current being passed through the pig’s body to induce both cardiac arrest and an epileptic seizure.

2. Carbon dioxide gassing involves lowering pigs in carbon dioxide gas chambers. Because pigs are intelligent and social animals, carbon dioxide gassing is touted as the most humane way of rendering them unconscious before they are slaughtered.

As carbon dioxide is a cheap gas, the industry uses a volume that is at least four times higher than what is scientifically known to avoid distress. If the carbon dioxide concentration is less than 20%, pigs will generally not detect the gas. Yet, the Australian meat industry standard is set between 80-100%. When exposed to carbon dioxide, pigs panic violently; it takes around 21 seconds for the pigs to lose consciousness.