Realities of modern animal slaughter revealed

The realities of modern animal slaughter were starkly revealed in video footage briefly posted on Facebook by a Napier slaughterhouse worker and aired today on Newstalk ZB.

After laughing and joking workers were filmed cutting the throats of sheep and hanging them from shackles, to allow their blood to drain out.

For any who care about animals, this alone was upsetting enough. Even worse however was footage of supposedly unconscious animals struggling during shackling, and afterwards. One sheep was filmed trying to lift its head, after having its throat cut and being hung upside down from the shackles. This was a conscious movement, indicating that the stunning method was inadequate.

All animals slaughtered in New Zealand are legally required to be adequately stunned prior to slaughter, so they’re unconscious during throat-cutting, shackling and subsequent skinning and dismembering.

Unfortunately however, inadequate stunning is common in slaughterhouses, affecting a small proportion of all animals slaughtered. This can occur because of poor equipment maintenance (e.g. failure to clean captive bolt pistols, which can then misfire), or equipment use (e.g. electrodes poorly positioned by over-tired workers). In this case, inadequate voltages may have been used – which can result in temporary paralysis, without loss of consciousness – or the time period after stunning may have been prolonged. Any delay may result in return of consciousness, prior to death.

Some 24 million sheep are slaughtered annually in New Zealand, with far larger numbers of other animals, particularly meat chickens. The uncomfortable reality is that because of such stunning failures and inadequacies, many thousands of New Zealand animals each year experience severe and avoidable pain and distress at the time of their deaths.

Take Action

  • Consider reducing or eliminating meat and other animal products from your diet. Our Eat Kind programme exists to advise and support you as you progress.
  • Read and share the 01 August Newstalk ZB story
  • Write to your local newspaper and call your local talkback radio station, condemning the treatment of animals in slaughterhouses – particularly, inadequate stunning.
  • Join SAFE’s volunteer network, and participate in action to help animals, the environment and your local community.
  • SAFE Animal Squad Children between 8-14 who care about animals can join our Animal Squad and learn how to care for and protect animals.
  • Learn more Teachers interested in exploring and encouraging critical thinking about our relationship with animals can learn more about SAFE’s Animals & Us education programme here.

2 August 2017