Sometimes you see or hear about something happening, and it changes your life forever. For many people, it might well be the footage and photos released last week of a piggery near Canberra. An investigation by Animal Liberation ACT and Animal Liberation NSW revealed some of the most appalling cruelty and neglect ever filmed on an Australian factory farm.
You can see footage and photos from the investigation here (WARNING: the content of the website is very distressing).
Just 20 mins drive from our nation's capital, workers were shown kicking piglets across the floor. In a room next to their mothers (within ear shot), young pigs screamed as they were beaten over the head with a sledgehammer and then slaughtered without any effective stunning. Footage shows some pigs apparently conscious and struggling for minutes after their throats had been cut. Buckets were filled with dead piglets, and various types of injuries and infections were left untreated. The footage is like some kind of sick horror movie.
Amidst the brutality and neglect, the scene I found perhaps most heartbreaking was a mother pig standing in a tiny crate, just being continuously pounded by a flood of water from a burst pipe. That these intelligent and sensitive animals could be treated so horribly is just devastating.
Even though a lot of what was filmed showed illegal cruelty, the legal practices filmed will also shock you. Piglets have their tails and teeth cut off without painkillers. Pregnant sows are confined to tiny crates where they're not given enough room to even turn around. This is legal and standard practice in piggeries across Australia. As is the dank and dark conditions evident in the footage. For many factory farmed pigs the first time they will feel the sun on their backs is also their last as they are transported to slaughterhouses to be killed.
Unfortunately, the abuse at Wally's Piggery isn't the first time (even recently) that farmed animals in Australia have been subject to such mistreatment. Earlier this year, a review in NSW found animal welfare breaches at *every* single slaughterhouse in the state. And late last year, an abattoir in Victoria was permanently closed because of extreme cruelty.
Hopefully, anyone involved with Wally's Piggery will face the full force of the law for what they've done. This won't help pigs who continue to experience fear, distress and cruelty in Australian piggeries which aren't breaking any laws, though. If you want to make a real difference to them, then don't eat them. By going veg you'll single-handedly save 100 animals every year, and you won't be contributing to an industry that puts profits before the welfare of animals.
If you've already gone veg, what was it that helped make your decision?