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Pages 12 - 13

Why Veg?

From a Perth vet:

“During my veterinary degree I visited a number of standard Australian abattoirs. Nothing prepares you for the smell and sight of blood covering every surface or the thrashing animals on hooks metres from your face. Cattle wait in line for their turn to die while staring directly at the “kill floor” as their friends have their throats slit in front of them. With any fast production line mistakes happen and often animals are killed while fully conscious and struggling to escape. There is so much hidden suffering which happens right here in Australia when turning animals into food - just to satisfy the trivial interest of “it tastes good”. Every meat eater should visit an abattoir.”(1)

(1)   The woman who made this statement is a member of the Vegetarian/Vegan Society of Queensland, but wished to remain anonymous.

"If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would  be vegetarian."


If they survive the horrors of the farms and transportation, the animals, whether factory farmed, free range or organically reared, are slaughtered. This is not a kind way to die like putting a sick dog to sleep.

Most animals are stunned prior to slaughter, meant to cause unconsciousness, not to kill.  In fact a stun lasts less than a minute before an animal may start to wake up(2).  Common stunning methods:

  • Captive bolt stunning – a 'pistol' is set against the animal's head and a metal rod is thrust into the brain(2).  Shooting a struggling animal is very difficult, and the rod often misses its mark, leaving the animal still conscious(3).
  • Electrical stunning – a current passes through the head, or from the head to body.  Incorrect placement or insufficient amperage can leave the animal paralysed but fully conscious(2).

The throat is then cut, the animal is hung upside down, and he/she dies from blood loss.  Evidence shows that very often the interval between stunning and cutting is too long, or the throat cut not deep enough for the animal to stay unconscious after stunning – hence they may wake up during bleeding or dismembering(2),(3).

  • Pigs are dunked in tanks of scalding water after their throats are slit to soften their hides for skinning.  As a result, a botched slaughter condemns some pigs to being both scalded and drowned in the boiling water.
  • To induce unconsciousness in birds, their heads are immersed into an electrified tank of water, but this is not always successful(2).  Large numbers of chickens, turkeys and ducks reach the scalding tanks alive and are either boiled to death or drowned(3).

(2)    "Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals – Livestock at Slaughtering Establishments" (2002) by Standing Committee on Agriculture and Resource Management (SCARM).  Source: http://www.publish.csiro.au/books/download.cfm?ID=2975

(3)    Stevenson P (2001) "Animal Welfare Problems in UK Slaughterhouses" Compassion in World Farming Trust (CIWF). Source: http://ciwf.org.uk/publications/reports/animal_welfare_problems_in_uk_slaughterhouses_2001.pdf

At the slaughterhouse, this pig has collapsed in his own vomit.(4)

(4)   Photo from original Vegan Outreach booklet

"Animal factories are one more sign of the extent to which our technological capacities have advanced faster than our ethics."

PETER SINGER, Australian philosopher, Professor of Bioethics, author

Chickens and turkeys are routinely shackled upside down while fully conscious(2).

"I grew up in cattle country – that's why I became a vegetarian.  Meat stinks, for the animals, the environment, and your health."

K.D. LANG, Canadian singer and recording artist

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