Two former butchers and a sociologist explain how animals are transformed from living creatures into row materials in professional, industrialized slaughtering, and what helps butchers to cope with their work emotionally.
“That was actually pretty abnormal,” says Thomas Schalz today, about his work in a slaughterhouse.
He worked there for 17 years, in all areas: driving, stunning, killing, and cutting the animals. The slaughterhouse in which he worked developed over the years into a large-scale slaughterhouse specializing in pigs. Up to 3,500 pigs were slaughtered every day.
Above all, the anesthesia of the pigs with CO2, which happens before they are actually killed, is what Schalz still follows in his mind today.
“The pigs go down in a gondola in over 90 percent CO2 gas. It usually takes 20 to 30 seconds until the animals are unconscious. And yes, they just can’t breathe anymore. There is no longer any oxygen they can breathe. The strongest animals try to climb over the others and stretch their trunks up out of the mesh basket to breathe oxygen. But there is no oxygen, ” says Schalz, describing the stunning process.
Peter Hübneralso worked in a large slaughterhouse – as part of his apprenticeship as a butcher.
Like Schalz, he is also a dropout. He remembers: “You saw this fear in their eyes, you saw this helplessness and you deliberately drove the animals to their death.”
Looking back, he says: “That was incredibly difficult.”
How did Hübner manage to drive so many animals to their death back then?
How did Thomas Schalzmanage to drive thousands of pigs down into the CO2 pit at the push of a button over the years, knowing full well what was going on there? How do slaughterhouse employees deal with slaughtering hundreds of animals on an assembly line every day?
How does the killing of animals become business as usual?
UPDATE: Lion Cub with Legs Broken for Selfies Is Off to Sanctuary!
Simba Is Headed to Sanctuary in Africa!
More than 40,000 of you signed Lady Freethinker’s petition for justice for Simba, a lion cub who had his back legs deliberately broken to keep him still during tourist selfies.
And now, we have a heartwarming update: Simba is headed to an animal sanctuary in Africa, where he can live out the rest of his life in peace!
Innovative surgery helped the innocent lion cub learn to walk again, but he will forever remain scarred by his abusers, who have yet to be identified.
They must not get away with abusing a baby lion. If you haven’t yet,
Sign the petition now to urge authorities to find and charge the perpetrator(s) who brutally snapped Simba’s legs.
Please sign the petition now to bring his abusers to justice:
Simba suffered unimaginable pain at the hands of his abusers, who put profit over his life. He endured beatings so bad his spine was severely injured, and after he got sick from lack of care, his captors dumped him in an old, dirty barn to die.
Rescuers found him literally wasting away, riddled with pressure sores and intestinal obstructions. It’s a miracle he’s alive today.
Simba deserves more than just his freedom — he deserves justice.
The RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds – a UK charity) has just issued the following release:
Three golden plover chicks and one curlew chick are getting a second chance at life after being found, as eggs, in a property in Huddersfield.
In April, following a report of suspicious behavior, South Yorkshire Police executed a search warrant at a Huddersfield address with the RSPB. Officers seized over 200 birds’ eggs alongside associated equipment, books and taxidermy items, and the investigation is ongoing.
Within the seized items was an incubator containing seven unhatched eggs. They were removed and taken to Smiths Nursey in Thorngumbald to care for the eggs until they hatched.
They have now been released into the wild, and experts say their chances of survival look good.
Sheffield Rural and Wildlife Crime Officer PC Elizabeth Wilson said: “When we executed the warrant at the property we were just expecting to find eggs that had been collected and stored in drawers or cabinets. We certainly didn’t expect to find live viable eggs in an incubator! I wanted to give those eggs the best chance of survival.
“The laws against the taking of or possessing wild birds’ eggs are there for a reason. We are committed to the robust prosecution of those who commit offences against protected wildlife and urge anyone with concerns to report them via 101.”
A 63 year-old man remains released under investigation while further enquiries continue between South Yorkshire Police, the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) and RSPB.
Charles Hardcastle of Smiths Nurseries said: “When we first received the eggs we were concerned they might not hatch. Some of them had cracks in them or were infected and went bad. But these ones did hatch and luckily and we managed to rear three lovely plovers and one lovely curlew. We provided artificial heat and fed them every few hours, then soon they became very independent. We’re so pleased with how well they’ve done. It’s sad seeing them go, any parent will know what that’s like, but also really exciting to see them take this next step into the wider world. These birds would have had no chance of life had they been left as they were. Now when we see a curlew or a golden plover flying over, we’ll be wondering if it’s one of ours.”
Howard Jones, RSPB Investigations Officer, said: “We’re delighted to see a happy end to this story. Thankfully very few egg collecting cases come to light these days, but finding live eggs, which have then gone on to hatch, is unprecedented. Curlews are in dire trouble in England, having declined dramatically in the last 25 years. The RSPB and other conservation organisations are working hard to protect these magnificent birds.”
After poultry, pigs are the second most popular farmed animal species worldwide.
In 2018, 248 million pigs were slaughtered in the EU, which is the main global exporter of pig meat.
The vast majority of EU pigs are kept under intensive indoor conditions. Industrial husbandry systems largely fail to satisfy even the most basic behavioural requirements of pigs, to the extent that they need to be mutilated to avoid the consequences of abnormal behaviours due to boredom, stress and bad health.
Instead of addressing environmental and managerial shortcomings, the industry still routinely subjects pigs to painful husbandry procedures such as tail-docking, castration and teeth clipping or grinding, typically without any pain relief.
Tail docking is the practice of shortening a pig’s tail to prevent tail biting. Tail biting usually occurs when pigs are bored or stressed due to their poor quality environment, poor health or lack of stimulation. The procedure is normally carried out without pain relief on piglets younger than 7 days. Scientific studies have shown that the procedure is painful and can cause the formation of neuromas on the tail stump, potentially leading to chronic pain in the longer term.
In addition, tail docking does not in itself prevent tail biting as a significant proportion of pigs with docked tails have tail lesions. While Directive 2008/120/EC on the minimum standards for the protection of pigs (the Pig Directive) forbids routine tail docking in pigs, a recent study showed that 77% of pigs’ tails had been docked in the 24 countries involved in the study.
Another unacceptable practice carried out on farmed piglets is the clipping or grinding of the corner teeth. This is done under the guise of protecting the sow and other competing piglets during suckling. However, this practice opens up a host of other issues for piglets, including infection, gum damage, abscess and fractured teeth.
Male piglets are subject to painful surgical castration to avoid the possibility that, once grown up, their meat will emit an unpleasant odour when cooked, known as boar taint.
In 2010, the ‘European Declaration on alternatives to surgical castration of pigs’ was agreed. The Declaration stipulates that from January 1, 2012, surgical castration of pigs shall only be performed with prolonged analgesia and/or anaesthesia and from 2018 surgical castration of pigs should be phased out altogether.
Forty usable survey responses from 24 countries were received.
Besides Ireland, Portugal, Spain and United Kingdom, who have of history in producing entire males, 18 countries surgically castrate 80% or more of their male pig population.
Overall, in 5% of the male pigs surgically castrated across the 24 European countries surveyed, castration is performed with anaesthesia and analgesia and 41% with analgesia (alone). Meloxicam, ketoprofen and flunixin were the most frequently used drugs for analgesia. Procaine was the most frequent local anaesthetic. The sedative azaperone was frequently mentioned even though it does not have analgesic properties.
pig castration – Google Search
Half of the countries surveyed believed that the method of anaesthesia/analgesia applied is not practicable and effective. However, countries that have experience in using both anaesthesia and post-operative analgesics, such as Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and The Netherlands, found this method practical and effective. The estimated average percentage of immunocastrated pigs in the countries surveyed was 2.7% (median = 0.2%), where Belgium presented the highest estimated percentage of immunocastrated pigs (18%).
The deadlines of January 1, 2012, and of 2018 are far from being met.
The opinions on the animal-welfare-conformity and the practicability of the alternatives to surgical castration without analgesia/anaesthesia and the alternatives to surgical castration are widely dispersed. Although countries using analgesia/anaesthesia routinely found this method practical and effective, only few countries seem to aim at meeting the deadline to phase out surgical castration completely.
In the majority of cases, surgical castration is still carried out without adequate pain relief.
This happens in spite of the availability of painless alternatives, such as vaccination against boar taint or raising entire boars.