Written by Michelle Kretzer
Update: You asked for
it—you got it. Because of the overwhelming response to this piece, we are
publishing it once more to give our supporters a chance to share it on Twitter and Facebook and spread
the message about the cruelty of factory farms far and wide.
The following was originally posted on November 9, 2012:
Paul McCartney famously said, "If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian." So an intrepid group of animal advocates found a way to bring the slaughterhouse to the sidewalk. Every Saturday night, volunteers Jennifer Mennuti and Boyd Weidman screen PETA's "Factory Farming in 60 Seconds Flat" for passersby on Miami's busy Lincoln Road.
For many people, it's the first time they are staring into the faces of the animals they call "steak," "ham," or "nugget." There in front of them is the irrefutable evidence that their "entrée" was a cow who coughed and choked as the blood spilling from her slit throat ran down her face and covered the floor below, a pig who screamed and cried as he was burned to death in scalding-hot water, a chicken whose desperate squawks went unheeded as her broken legs were slammed into shackles and she stared past the long line of her comrades to the whirring blades that would end her life. A photographer caught some of the people's reactions, and it seems Paul was right.
PETA supporter Andrew Kirschner, who hosts a radio talk show about animal rights, published the photos on his blog, Kirschner's Corner, accompanied by the real-life experiences of slaughterhouse workers, taken from Gail A. Eisnitz's book Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, and Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry.
© Serg Alexander/Eyeworks Production
"I could tell you horror stories… about cattle getting their heads stuck under the gate guards and the only way you can get it out is to cut their heads off while they're still alive."
"One time I took my knife – it's sharp enough – and I sliced off the end of a hog's nose, just like a piece of bologna. The hog went crazy for a few seconds. Then it just sat there looking kind of stupid. So I took a handful of salt brine and ground it into his nose. Now that hog really went nuts, pushing its nose all over the place. I still had a bunch of salt in my hand – I was wearing a rubber glove – and I stuck the salt right up the hog's ass. The poor hog didn't know whether to **** or go blind."
"I've seen live animals shackled, hoisted, stuck, and skinned. Too many to count, too many to remember. It's just a process that's continually there. I've seen shackled beef looking around before they've been stuck. I've seen hogs [that are supposed to be lying down] on the bleeding conveyor get up after they've been stuck. I've seen hogs in the scalding tub trying to swim."
"These hogs get up to the scalding tank, hit the water and start screaming and kicking. Sometimes they thrash so much they kick water out of the tank… Sooner or later they drown. There's a rotating arm that pushes them under, no chance for them to get out. I'm not sure if they burn to death before they drown, but it takes them a couple of minutes to stop thrashing."
"Hogs get stressed out pretty easy. If you prod them too much they have heart attacks. If you get a hog in a chute that's had the **** prodded out of him and has a heart attack or refuses to move, you take a meat hook and hook it into his bunghole [anus]. You're dragging these hogs alive, and a lot of times the meat hook rips out of the bunghole. I've seen hams – thighs – completely ripped open. I've also seen intestines come out. If the hog collapses near the front of the chute, you shove the meat hook into his cheek and drag him forward."
"Sometimes I grab it [a hog] by the ear and stick it right through the eye. I'm not just taking its eye out, I'll go all the way to the hilt, right up through the brain, and wiggle the knife."
"Pigs on the kill floor have come up and nuzzled me like a puppy. Two minutes later I had to kill them – beat them to death with a pipe."
"Only you don't just kill it, you go in hard, push hard, blow the windpipe, make it drown in its own blood. Split its nose. A live hog would be running around the pit. It would just be looking up at me and I'd be sticking, and I would just take my knife and – cut its eye out while it was just standing there. And this hog would just scream."
"I seen guys take broomsticks and stick it up the cow's behind, screwing them with a broom."
"He'll kick them [hogs], fork them, use anything he can get his hands on. He's already broken three pitchforks so far this year, just jabbing them. He doesn't care if he hits its eyes, head, butt. He jabs them so hard he busts the wooden handles. And he clubs them over the back."
© Serg Alexander/Eyeworks Production
"I've drug cows till their bones start breaking, while they were still alive. Bringing them around the corner and they get stuck up in the doorway, just pull them till their hide be ripped, till the blood just drip on the steel and concrete. Breaking their legs… And the cow be crying with its tongue stuck out. They pull him till his neck just pop."
Do people ask why you're vegan? Maybe it's time to share this video with them:
Then perhaps it's time to ask them the real question: "Why aren't you vegan?"
Written by Jeff Mackey
Update: Thanks to
all of you who responded to PETA's action alert, New Hampshire House Bill (H.B.)
110 has stalled in
committee, meaning that investigators can continue to uncover cruelty on factory farms in
the state. H.B. 110 is likely to come up again this fall, so please keep
checking back here to learn how you can help PETA continue to defeat this and other attempts to shield abusers from exposure!
Originally posted on January 31st, 2013:
How badly do corporate animal abusers want to keep the public from knowing what happens on factory farms and in slaughterhouses? Bad enough to enlist accomplices in government to try to stop any efforts to document their cruelty. But after a New Hampshire state legislator reportedly made a false allegation about PETA in support of his bill to block undercover investigations, we're more determined than ever to make sure that animal suffering can be documented and the abusers are held accountable.
PETA has written Rep. Robert Haefner, the sponsor of House Bill (H.B.) 110, New Hampshire's "ag gag" bill (which would require evidence of abuse to be turned over to authorities in 24 hours, shutting down long-term undercover investigations), asking him to retract a false statement that he reportedly made about our Aviagen Turkeys, Inc., investigation. PETA turned over evidence of animal abuse from its investigation of Aviagen's West Virginia turkey factory farms two business days after the end of the investigation—not 13 months, as Haefner allegedly claimed at a public hearing on the bill last week. Within three months of receiving the video footage, grand jurors issued the first-ever felony indictments for cruelty to turkeys on factory farms. All three former Aviagen workers were later convicted. At the hearing, Haefner used this false claim to justify to New Hampshire citizens his proposed bill to stop long-term undercover investigations on factory farms, according to witnesses.
Investigations conducted by PETA and other organizations on factory farms have been instrumental in opening people's eyes to the cruelty inherent in intensive animal agriculture and have led to successful prosecutions of the perpetrators, but Haefner's bill would make it practically impossible for whistleblowers and undercover investigators to secure sufficient evidence to show a pattern of cruelty, as preferred by police and prosecutors.
we planned a demonstration involving people lying on what appeared to be bloody
meat trays outside a slaughterhouse, we knew that it would be a poignant
display. But even we had no idea just how intense it would turn out to be.
smell of freshly butchered flesh that permeated the air around the John Morrell & Co.
slaughterhouse was nauseating on that
sweltering day in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. But that wasn't the worst part.
The slaughterhouse was directly across the street from a stockyard, and we could hear the pigs screaming. Their
unceasing cries shook us to the core.
townspeople who drove by us certainly got the message—they were faced with the
gruesome image that accompanied the smells and screams that they always tried
to ignore as they passed. One slaughterhouse worker even came out to ask, "Are
you all vegetarian?" When we answered that we were, he said, "I don't
wherever you are, please be the message that people can't ignore.
animals are not silent.
We must not be, either.
Written by PETA
A little birdie told me that PETA's cruelty caseworkers are her heroes. After reading about some of the ways that they've helped our feathered friends recently, I must agree—they are flock stars!
A young bird was found stuck and struggling in a sticky gel that had been applied to the rafters of a hardware store in northern Virginia to prevent birds from roosting. After a compassionate customer removed the gel and safely released the bird, PETA convinced the store to stop using the gel permanently!
In Piedmont, South Carolina, four chickens were severely injured after falling from a truck that was transporting them to slaughter. Three of the birds died quickly, but one survived, and a kind passerby called PETA for guidance on how to help her. He whisked the chicken to a veterinarian, who determined that the bird was paralyzed from a spinal injury and euthanized her—giving the suffering bird a painless death that was infinitely better than the one she would have faced at a slaughterhouse.
After learning that ducklings were drowning in vertically sided storm water ponds at a northern Illinois home improvement store, PETA worked with the store to have ramps installed so that flightless birds can climb out of the pond. The store is now working on a more permanent solution, such as fencing.
A concerned woman in Roland, Iowa, called PETA after finding two orphaned mourning dove fledglings in her driveway who weren't moving and who appeared to be in danger. PETA staffers connected her with a nearby veterinarian who examined the birds, found them to be fairly healthy, and turned them over to a wildlife rehabilitator who shares clinic space with him. The rehabilitator is hopeful that with a little TLC, the fledglings can soon be released where they were found.
All of these birds were helped because someone cared enough to intervene. If you see an animal in distress, be that someone!
Written by Lindsay Pollard-Post
If the heartbreaking pictures of animals suffering on factory farms and in slaughterhouses bring you down (and if they don't, you need to worry), you'll be pleased to learn that scientists at the Medical University of South Carolina are developing a way to give die-hard carnivores an animal-friendly meat fix. With the help of a grant from PETA, the scientists are working on growing "cultured" meat in their laboratory, relying on techniques similar to those they are using in their research on growing human organs for transplant patients.
The list of benefits of bioengineered in vitro meat goes on and on. It is far less likely to be contaminated with bacteria such as E. coli, salmonella, and campylobacter, which are widespread on factory farms. Scientists can control how much fat is added to the meat, which could help people lower their risk for heart disease, cancer, obesity, and diabetes. The production of cultured meat wouldn't generate the tons of animal waste that factory farms do or contribute to climate change and massive water and air pollution. And, of course, if cultured meat became widely available, millions of animals every year would be spared from being scalded, skinned, or hacked apart or having their throats cut open while they are still conscious and struggling.Meat produced safely in a clean, controlled environment could someday make dead animal flesh look about as progressive as The Flintstones.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
Media outlets everywhere are reporting that a home on New York's Long Island is for sale. Why all the buzz? This house is well known as the "Amityville Horror house," the infamous site of alleged paranormal activity brought on by gruesome murders at the home as depicted in the horror classic The Amityville Horror.
Whether or not you believe in ghosts, there's no denying the horrors that countless animals suffer in factory farms before they are cruelly killed in slaughterhouses. So enter PETA: We've written to the current owner to propose that we be allowed to rent the residence so that we can set up shop—er, haunted house.
PETA's "Amityville Slaughterhouse of Horrors" would guarantee chills (and likely some sleepless nights) for visitors who will experience what life and death are like for victims of factory farms and slaughterhouses. Of course, it wouldn't be all gore and horror: Our walk-through exhibit would also include an on-site café where visitors can learn about simple, tasty alternatives to butchered animal bits.
Will we be bringing the haunting real-life tales of tormented animals to Amityville? We'll let you know—in the meantime, make sure your own kitchen doesn't look like a murder scene by going vegan.
Written by Karin Bennett
If you prefer Atari to Wii or have dreams of getting your name on the Galaga Top Ten High Score Table, We'd like to introduce you to what could easily become your new addiction: Escape From the Slaughterhouse.
Created by Mikael Romlin, this game is for the "old skool" gamer in all of us. It has a Crystal Castles feel, but instead of collecting gems and trying to escape Berthilda the Witch, you are searching for cages in each level in order to set your friends free and trying to escape from the slaughterhouse. You'll encounter butchers along the way (whom you can defeat by jumping on their heads), and you have to be careful not to fall into the meat grinders.
I'm going to give you a heads-up and say that this game isn't easy (even our resident gaming expert, Joel Bartlett, only made it to the first boss), but the rewards are worth it. Freedom for all? Yes, please!
And for those of you looking for some gaming on the go, check out Mikael's Hunt the Hunter. It's a cell-phone game in which you take shots at fox hunters before they can shoot vulnerable foxes.
After you've played the game, how about giving Mikael a little love in the comments below for his retro games?
Written by Shawna Flavell
The findings of a new report from Britain's Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) should come as no surprise to anyone with an ounce of sense: Abuse and exploitation run rampant in meat factories, no matter the victim's species.
One in three workers interviewed by the EHRC claimed to have heard or been the victim of verbal abuse by superiors, and one in five admitted to "being pushed, kicked, or having things thrown at them." The report contains testimony from employees who claimed to have had frozen burgers thrown at them by managers and states that workers with bladder conditions admitted to urinating on themselves after they were denied bathroom breaks.
It doesn't take a great leap of logic to understand that the callousness required to hang gentle animals by chains and shackles, cut their throats while they are still conscious, and begin to skin them while they are still blinking will bleed into employee relations, and it's no coincidence that the hardships endured by humans are eerily similar to those endured by animals. If you want to stop human and animal exploitation, the answer is easy: Go vegan.
Written by Logan Scherer
One whistleblower's powerful testimony about the abuse of pigs and calves in slaughterhouses throughout the country may bring about a serious overhaul in the U.S. government's monitoring of slaughterhouses.
Dean Wyatt is a veterinarian and supervisor of the Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS), which is a part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Last week, Wyatt told the members of a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee that time after time, his warnings about unsafe slaughterhouse practices went ignored. Two of the slaughterhouses he worked with—one in Oklahoma that allegedly mishandled pigs and one in Vermont that he ordered to shut down three times for mistreating calves—ignored his directives to stop abusing animals. And a Government Accountability Office report released Thursday supports Wyatt's claims, admitting that the FSIS has a history of unsuccessfully regulating slaughterhouses and that it is lax in its enforcement of humane slaughtering standards:
Now governmental officials are saying that they will take steps to improve the agency's enforcement standards. So does this mean that we'll see more stringent enforcement anytime soon? We hope so. But in the meantime, there's no reason to support the massacre of animals or to jeopardize your health: Go vegan!
When your full-time job is extracting brains from pigs' heads, irreparable trauma and polyradiculoneuropathy are all in a day's work. Polyradic … huh?
Polyradiculoneuropathy is a painful nerve disorder that attacks the peripheral nerves and the spine nerve roots. Earlier this month, a study revealed that 24 slaughterhouse workers had developed the disease after inhaling pig-brain tissue mist.
We always knew that working at a slaughterhouse messes with your head, but now we can say it actually attacks your brain.
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.