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Posted 13 March 2014
Exactly 25 years ago today (March 13, 1989), The Independent newspaper published an article by Animal Aid Director, Andrew Tyler (at the time, a freelance journalist) that described in harrowing detail the journey of a group of pigs from their farms to their death in a mainstream, EU-approved Hampshire abattoir. Called Slaughterhouse Tales, it attracted the newspaper’s biggest-ever postbag for a single article and went on to prompt questions in parliament as well as being reprinted in several newspapers and in two books.
Sadly, despite the widespread shock the article caused, the killing of animals in so-called ‘humane’ slaughterhouses in Britain is still conducted with callous brutality, due to the industrialised nature of the process. Animal Aid has demonstrated this point with our recent undercover filming in nine randomly selected establishments. And yet, rather than focus on how the majority of the nearly one billion animals a year are slaughtered in Britain, the industry and those who regulate and facilitate it would rather the focus be on the Halal and (less so) Kosher methods of ‘ritual’ slaughter. Those systems too are brutal and uncivilised but the pressing task is to recognise the degree of trauma and violence visited upon animals in mainstream, ‘humane’ killing establishments, in which by far the majority of animals are killed.
Slaughterhouse Tales can remind us that the self-deceit and hypocrisy relating to animal slaughter is an old story. You can read this powerful piece here (pdf).
(N.B The Independent subeditor at the time insisted on the pigs being referred to as ‘it’ (as though they were objects) rather than ‘he’ or ‘she’, as the author had originally written.)