Slaughter cruelty exposed.

Whistle-blower footage taken inside a Victorian slaughterhouse reveals the increased risks to animals when nobody is watching.

Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated November 23, 2016

They stabbed babies.

One by one they were not only stabbed, but burned, electrocuted, and paralysed. Many suffered a knife to their throat while still conscious. Explosive footage from inside an Australian slaughterhouse uncovers meat and dairy industry horror.

The footage captured by a whistle-blower inside Riverside Meats in Victoria is some of the worst cruelty to animals ever documented inside an Australian slaughterhouse. The evidence was provided to Animals Australia and aired on ABC Lateline.

Slaughterhouses are already places of unavoidable fear and suffering for animals but over 170 hours of footage revealed a culture of violence and disrespect for animals that Victoria’s Chief Veterinary Officer said “must have been known to the management”.

This image contains content which some may find confronting

Days old bobby calf being stunned/ electrocuted by dairy industry worker
This dairy calf is not even a week old, but you are witnessing the last day of his life. Disposed of as a ‘waste product’ by the dairy industry, his final moments were spent in terror as he was violently stabbed and burned by electrocution.

Alarm bells.

The evidence reinforced how government regulations and audits continue to fail animals. Having been caught out in the past, Riverside Meats in Victoria already had the attention of authorities. Yet still it took secret footage supplied to Animals Australia to catch what audits and regulations failed to detect.

Equipment designed to reduce suffering was instead being used as a weapon of torture. Frightened animals were violently and repeatedly stabbed in the neck with prongs of an electrified stunner. This is not only painful — it’s ineffective and can leave animals still conscious and sensible to pain as their throats are cut.

This image contains content which some may find confronting

Close up of a cow and her eye showing extreme fear before being slaughtered
Having heard the thrashing and cries of his companions before him, this steer entered the slaughter restraint box scared out of his mind.

A catalog of cruelty.

Over 1,000 videos were sent to authorities cataloging abuses to cows, 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. She was laughed at and sworn at. Then she was shot. Twice. Her ordeal lasting more than six agonising minutes.

This image contains content which some may find confronting

A pig covered with dirt looking towards camera
If this is what's happening in an abattoir that should be under increased scrutiny, we can have no confidence whatsoever that similar abuses, or worse, are not happening in other slaughterhouses throughout Victoria.
Glenys Oogjes
CEO, Animals Australia
Over 170 hours of footage revealed calves and sheep being stabbed in the neck, face and head with the metal prongs of an electric stunning device as well as the awful abuse of pigs and cattle. The culture of violence and systemic cruelty documented reinforces the increased risks animals face when nobody is watching.

Evidence must be exposed.

A slaughterhouse is a place few people will ever see. But its ‘products’ line the shelves of every supermarket. Behind every bottle of milk or packet of meat is an animal we’ll never know, and whose final moments we cannot comprehend.

The inescapable reality is that whenever animals are killed en masse, there will be fear and suffering. But tragically, this is the ‘best case scenario’.

Incredibly, while it remained in operation, this slaughterhouse was investigated for cruelty, twice. Which begs the question, if such routine and entrenched abuse is happening in a facility that should be under increased scrutiny, what hope is there for animals in slaughterhouses across the country, where nobody is watching?

Mandatory and independently monitored CCTV may help curb extreme abuse. But it’s the demand for meat and dairy that’s fuelling this relentless pressure to kill and butcher animals quickly. Workers become frustrated, corners are cut and cruelty inevitably ensues.

You can help.

Half of all Australians are now choosing to cut back on meat or cut it out completely — removing themselves from this perpetual cycle of cruelty and saving animals from the terror of slaughter.

Why not join them?  Discover just how powerful your food choices are. Explore our compassionate living guide here, and help shape a future where animals are treated with the care and respect they deserve.