Credit: Animal Liberation Queensland
High drone shot of a lone pig lying on a raceway into a slaughterhouse

She’s ‘broken’. She’s given up.

Thousands of pigs walk a raceway like this every single day in Australia ... their final destination: the slaughterhouse. She was to be one of them...

Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated September 14, 2022

An investigation by Animal Liberation Queensland has captured rare footage of a pig’s harrowing ordeal while being marched towards a slaughterhouse.

Too unwell to walk, the poor animal was poked, prodded, hit and even when it was clear she simply could not get up – she was sprayed with a high pressure hose. At one point, another pig ran back towards her but was forcibly kicked away. This seemingly small act of concern isn’t surprising to anyone who knows pigs as they are inherently empathetic animals.

Her ordeal lasted for over an hour and ultimately, she was killed right where she laid. The incident is now the subject of a cruelty complaint under investigation by Queensland authorities.

But what this pig endured reflects so much more than an act of human cruelty or neglect. It’s a symptom of a much bigger problem…

If slaughterhouses had ‘glass walls’

What happens inside slaughterhouses every day usually stays hidden. It’s hard to imagine, let alone look at. No matter the farming system they came from, the final moments of an animal killed for food is the same: they will experience fear and terror.

This is especially the case for pigs. The ‘best’ method Australia’s pig industry has come up with to manage pigs in slaughterhouses involves suffocation prior to slaughter. It’s as painful and distressing as it sounds. But treating pigs this way is legal and routine.

It says a lot about standard slaughter practices in Australia that despite all she endured, the poor animal at the heart of this story may have experienced even worse suffering had she made it through the slaughterhouse doors.

This image contains content which some may find confronting

a pig lies on a metal tray in a slaughterhouse
The reality is that there is no such thing as 'humane' slaughter, especially when it comes to the killing of pigs - one of the most consumed animals in the world. Whether 'free range' or factory farmed, their final conscious moments will be spent inside a 'gas chamber'.

Compassion cannot exist in a slaughterhouse.

Australia’s slaughter systems are not set up to allow for the care of one, individual animal. They’re built to facilitate the handling and killing of thousands of animals a day – as ‘efficiently’ as possible – all to meet consumer demand for meat products.

And animals are not the only victims, with a compelling body of research revealing the physical and emotional toll on the slaughterhouse workers themselves.

The worst thing, worse than the physical danger, is the emotional toll... Pigs down on the kill floor have come up and nuzzled me like a puppy. Two minutes later I had to kill them...
Ed Van Winkle
slaughterhouse worker

Compassion can exist in the supermarket.

Humans innately care about animals and do not want to see them harmed. Perhaps this is why we instinctively turn away when passing a truck filled with farmed animals – we know where they are going and can’t allow ourselves to think too deeply on it.

For many people, eating animals was an inherited, rather than an informed and conscious choice. And the more they learn about our food system – and the suffering of animals within it – the more they are making food choices that better align with their values.

We’re a naturally compassionate species. And every trip to the supermarket – in fact, every meal – is a chance to embody compassion in action. If you’re curious to explore more about plant-based eating – and want to help spare countless other sensitive pigs from enduring a lonely last walk – then please download our free Veg Starter Guide today. Change begins with you.

This page contains graphic content which some may find upsetting.