An image of a sad looking horse in an Australian knackery that was slaughtering horses.

Slaughterhouse cruelty – history repeating?

Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated 26 February 2015

A shameful list of shocking cruelty incidents at Australian slaughterhouses shows clearly that current regulations are failing to protect animals. You can help by taking action at the bottom of this page to demand CCTV cameras in all slaughterhouses, to ensure that this kind of cruelty doesn’t remain hidden behind closed doors.

November 23rd 2016: Explosive video evidence from inside a major Victorian slaughterhouse uncovers the shocking and systemic abuse of animals born into the meat and dairy industries. Hours of harrowing footage reveal a system failure so bad, it has every caring Australian asking the question: how could this happen here?

Over 1,000 videos were sent to authorities cataloguing abuses to cows, week-old calves, goats and sheep. But one pig suffered worst of all. She was still conscious after being struck four times with a captive bolt gun. She thrashed and moaned, desperate for help or mercy, as workers stood over her swearing, and even laughing at her pain. Then they shot her, twice. Her ordeal at the hands of these slaughterhouse workers lasted longer than six agonising minutes.


May 8th 2014: In a world-first, video has been released from inside the gas chambers of a NSW slaughterhouse owned by Rivalea — the ‘biggest’ and the ‘best’ in the business. This covert vision, supplied anonymously to ‘Aussie Farms’ and provided to NSW police, has given the public its first glimpse into what the industry regards as the most ‘humane’ slaughter method. But is it? Footage shows pigs screaming and thrashing as they gasp for air inside the abattoir’s gas chambers. One lame pig, unable to enter the gas chamber, is dragged, kicked, and shocked repeatedly with an electric prod.


March 21st 2013: Turkeys are being sadistically abused at an Ingham’s slaughterhouse in NSW. An investigation by Animal Liberation, aired on ABC’s Lateline, has revealed workers repeatedly kicking, punching, and kneeing birds, as well as slamming them into walls and stomping on them — apparently for fun. One worker even tried to rip the heads off live birds.


March 15th 2013: The shocking slaughter of ex-racehorses at Laverton Knackery was caught on camera in 2012 by Animals Australia member society Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses.

The footage revealed horses being beaten with poly pipe, dragged by a tractor across gravel and concrete, shot in front of other horses, as well as sick and injured horses left untreated, and in one case a dead horse was left in the holding yard, with other horses forced to stand around him.

These tragic scenes sparked a formal investigation by RSPCA into Laverton Knackery. Despite the obvious cruelty at this facility, only a formal warning was issued.


Feb 1st 2013: Lateline has revealed the latest in a string of shocking Australian slaughterhouse cruelty cases; this time involving the abuse of week-old bobby calves at an Echuca slaughterhouse.

Incredibly, no charges were laid following Animals Australia’s formal complaint to authorities. Instead, the Department of Primary Industries merely issued warnings to the perpetrators. The exposure of this latest incident of slaughterhouse cruelty further demonstrates the need for CCTV and Government veterinary officers in all Australian slaughterhouses.


Jan 18th 2013: Cruelty charges have been laid against the Sydney slaughterhouse and one of its ex-employees, following an RSPCA investigation sparked by the footage taken by Animal Liberation NSW. Hawkesbury Valley Meat Processors had been inspected four times in the year before the footage was taken. What happened when the inspectors left?


May 18th 2012: In response to shocking footage filmed by Animal Liberation NSW at a Sydney slaughterhouse, the NSW Food Authority has conducted a review of all domestic slaughterhouses in NSW that kill sheep, cattle, goats and pigs. What they found was even more shocking: Animal welfare breaches were uncovered at every domestic slaughterhouse in NSW, including “incompetency of slaughtering staff” and ineffective stunning — meaning some animals may have been fully conscious at slaughter. Sadly the NSW government’s announced package to address these problems does not include the installation of CCTV, but rather relies largely on training and more self-regulation.


Nov 24th 2011: Victorian authorities closed down a slaughterhouse in Gippsland after Animals Australia provided footage of animal welfare breaches inside the facility. In just 90 minutes enough evidence of cruelty was captured of the final moments of a group of young pigs to have this slaughterhouse’s license withdrawn.

How you can help

Sign the petition below to call for video monitoring in all slaughterhouses.

Sadly, the very nature of slaughterhouses means that animals will always experience fear and suffering within their walls — but making kinder choices can spare them from this. Find out more about compassionate living here, and help to shape a future where animals are properly protected.

Take action to demand CCTV cameras in all slaughterhouses

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This page contains graphic content which some may find upsetting.