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Slaughterhouse cruelty.

Is history repeating? Investigation after investigation has made one thing very clear – slaughterhouses will always be places of fear and suffering for animals.

Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated January 25, 2024

A shameful list of shocking cruelty incidents at Australian slaughterhouses shows clearly that current regulations are failing to protect animals. Given investigators can’t be everywhere all at once, what’s happening to animals in slaughterhouses across the country when nobody is watching?


The horrific treatment of animals was exposed at five slaughterhouses in Tasmania through investigations conducted by Farm Transparency Project. Footage reveals sheep, pigs, deer, goats, cows, and young calves enduring slaughter practices that most caring people would consider unconscionable. Many were killed while fully conscious.

Incredibly, two of the five slaughterhouses exposed had previously been reported for animal welfare breaches but were allowed to continue operating. Animals Australia has called for the immediate suspension of these five slaughterhouses, and for independently monitored CCTV to be mandated in all facilities that kill animals across the state.


Farm Transparency Project investigators captured the final moments of pigs in Australian slaughterhouses – and not only is it a painful and terrifying death, but it’s also standard practice. Piled into gondolas and lowered into gas chambers, the evidence shows pigs thrashing about and struggling desperately to breathe. Pigs from all methods of production – factory-farmed, free-range and RSPCA Approved – go through cruel CO2 gassing systems, revealing the true cost of pork, bacon and ham products.


An investigation by Animal Liberation Queensland captured the harrowing ordeal of one lonely pig while she was being marched towards Swickers Slaughterhouse in Queensland. 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. This horrific treatment lasted for over an hour, and ultimately, she was killed right where she lay.


Explosive video evidence from inside a major Victorian slaughterhouse uncovered the shocking and systemic abuse of animals in 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. One pig 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 lasted longer than six agonising minutes.


In a world-first, footage was released from the inside of 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.


Turkeys were found to be enduring extreme abuse at an Ingham’s slaughterhouse in NSW. An investigation by Animal Liberation, aired on ABC’s Lateline, revealed workers repeatedly kicking, punching, and kneeing birds, as well as slamming them into walls and stomping on themapparently for fun. One worker even tried to rip the heads off live birds.


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.


Lateline 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.


Cruelty charges were laid against the Sydney slaughterhouse and one of its ex-employees, following an RSPCA investigation sparked by footage captured 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?


In response to shocking footage filmed by Animal Liberation NSW at a Sydney slaughterhouse, the NSW Food Authority conducted a review of all domestic slaughterhouses in NSW that killed 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 did not include the installation of CCTV, but rather relies largely on training and more self-regulation.


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.

You can shape a kinder future for animals

Sadly, the very nature of slaughterhouses means that animals will always experience fear and suffering within their walls – compassion simply can’t exist in a slaughterhouse. Thankfully, compassion can guide our choices.

By pledging to never bet on a horse race you can ensure you’re not supporting an industry that sends so many young and healthy horses to slaughterhouses each year.

And by eating kindly, you can help reduce the demand for animal products that underpin these systems of suffering. After all, it is the demand for these products that drives industries to breed and raise more animals to be killed for meat, egg and dairy products.

Humans innately care about animals. For many of us, eating animals was an inherited choice – rather than an informed and conscious one. The more we learn about our food system, and the reality for animals trapped in that system, the more empowered we are to make food choices that better align with our values. By making kinder choices and filling our plates with animal-friendly food, animals can be spared from terrifying deaths in slaughterhouses.

Find out more with your free Veg Starter Kit, or head straight to VegKit.com.

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