‘A Lamb To Slaughter.’ A Short Story by Lily Carrington

‘Molly’ the lamb journeys to the slaughterhouse, where she watches her friend be killed.  Next, it’s her turn.


This is a story about a lamb. She doesn’t have a name, but for the sake of this narrative lets call her Molly.

Molly sits at the back of a cattle truck. She is tucked into the corner with her legs folded under her, trying not to slide around in faeces as the truck lurches and judders. The foul stench of the manure fills her nostrils and clings to her woolly coat. Feverish warmth rolls through her in waves, making her dizzy. Her thirst is accompanied by a constant ache in her empty belly. “What’s going on?” she thinks, trembling despite the suffocating heat. “Where are we going? Where is my herd?”

The scenery outside the truck changes from farmland to bush, to hills, to farmland again, but Molly doesn’t see it as it passes by. After an eternity of staring at the same poop-splattered walls and the same scared faces of fellow lambs, Molly feels the truck start to slow. She leans to the side as they turn a narrow corner, and flinches when a loud beeping sound pierces the air. The truck moves backwards then stops. The roar of the engine fades and gives way to a different, fainter noise. It’s a strange sound which Molly doesn’t recognise at first. It echoes eerily through the air. Screams, she realises. It’s the muffled sound of screaming. The realisation sends fear rolling through her and the tension in the air rises, all the lambs becoming more distressed.

The ramp of the truck is lowered and lambs scramble back towards Molly and cower around her at the rear of the truck. Someone’s hooves jab her sharply in her side. A man walks onto the truck, all business, and shoves a couple of lambs towards the ramp. They scramble down into the bright afternoon sun and into a pen. The man stomps his way towards the back of the truck, towards where Molly still sits in the corner. He shakes a rattle and Molly lurches to her hooves in fright at the loud clanging. She races after the other lambs, down the ramp and into the crowded pen, breathing hard. The lambs are packed in tightly, wool pressed against wool, hooves stumbling over hooves. Molly’s soft ears swivel constantly. Her wide eyes search those of the other lambs, seeking comfort but finding only her own fear reflected back at her.

Suddenly a cold stream of water splatters down on the lambs. Molly startles and tries to run but there’s no space to move and nowhere to go. She blinks repeatedly as the water continues to fall until it soaks through her dense coat. Her hooves splash anxiously in the shallow pool of water that now covers the concrete.

Then the lambs start to move. The one behind Molly pushes her forward as the man with the rattle starts shaking it behind them. Molly stumbles forward then manages to push her way out of the group and darts backwards into an empty space in the pen, her heartbeat thudding in her ears. She bleats and runs back and forth, confused and scared. A man walks towards her so she runs the other way, only to find another man waiting for her. She changes direction and bolts back to the other lambs. She’s quickly swallowed by the group again and there’s nothing to do but follow along with everyone else.

The metal fences that make up the sides of the pen narrow at one corner to become a kind of corridor which disappears into a building. The lambs are being herded from the pen down this corridor and inside. The terrible smell that’s hung in the air since the moment Molly got off the truck starts to intensify the closer she gets to the entrance of the building. She soon reaches the part where the pen gives way to the corridor but she resists moving out of the pen. She pushes back against the sheep behind her, trying to turn back, terrified. A large hand comes down on her rump, sudden and hard. She flies forward, bleating in panic. She follows after the lamb in front of her, recognising him as the one who stood next to her on the truck. He’s a small boy lamb from her herd, the one whose tail stump never recovered properly after they cut it off.

Soon the corridor takes them inside the ominous building. As soon as Molly enters, the smell that’s been hanging in the air gets a hundred times stronger, hitting her like a solid wall.  It’s the worst kind of smell, thick and acrid. Molly and all the other lambs know what it is and what it means, leaving them waiting in horror for what’s to come. It’s the smell of blood, the smell of death. It consumes the place like a physical thing, inescapable, and not without a fitting soundtrack to accompany it. The soundtrack of endless screams that tell of unbearable agony and terror. Now the screams of Molly’s travel companions join them in a haunting, hellish harmony.

Regular loud bangs get louder and louder as Molly’s forced further inside the building. The little boy lamb in front of her soon reaches the front of the line. Another man gently pats his behind and he trots forward. The man shuts a gate behind him.

Molly sees what happens next through the gap in the gate’s hinge. The boy lamb scrambles forward into a room and sniffs the glistening, scarlet ground. The man picks up something solid and metal and approaches the boy lamb, but he doesn’t run.

The man strokes his head and the boy lamb just stands there, shaking. Then the man gets the lamb between his legs, and holds the metal object to his small, soft head. The lamb looks up at the man innocently, and makes a quiet, pitiful little baaing sound. The man shakes his head. “Sorry sweetheart” he whispers. Then he pulls the trigger.

Molly flinches at the loud bang and watches in horror as the boy lamb falls to the ground letting out a short, choked cry. Molly looks only at his eyes. They’ve gone too wide and they stare, frozen, as his body convulses and his legs spasm on the blood- soaked floor. The man grabs him by the leg and hangs him upside down with a shackle around his ankle. Molly watches as another man brings his knife to the little boy lamb’s throat and cuts it open, the boy lamb jerking uncontrollably. She cannot tear her eyes away as blood starts to pour from her friend’s neck. The boy lamb meets Molly’s gaze, and for a split second she sees the friend she grew up with, who always liked clover flowers, who frolicked with her in the field, looking back at her with eyes wild with pain and terror before they go blank. Molly’s gaze stays fixed on his eyes as his head is chopped off and thrown in a bin where it lays amongst many other heads, and its eyes still stare, unseeing, straight back at her.

See also:









Lily Carrington is a dedicated animal rights activist who is driven by a strong sense of justice for all beings. She is fighting for a world where all non human animals are granted respect, compassion and freedom. Lily lives in Hamilton, New Zealand, with her Mum and 10 companion animals, and has recently graduated from school.



Cows understand ‘Cow’, Pigs understand ‘Pig’

End Animal Slaughter editor Sandra Kyle states the obvious: Animals understand what others of their species are saying to them.  And just as with us, some are artists!


I do regular slaughterhouse vigils locally here in Whanganui, New Zealand.  Like most other people, I find them hard, and in the nearly eight years I’ve been doing them it hasn’t got one jot easier.

Yesterday at one of the slaughterhouses, that kills cows and pigs, I witnessed and recorded the sad bellowing, lowing, and mooing of 100 or so cows trapped in holding pens.  What I understood was that the animals were communicating their distress and frustration.  But to the other cows their communications had specific means.  The reason for this, to state, the obvious, is ‘Cows understand Cow.’

And of course Pigs also understand ‘Pig’. I witnessed as a truckload arrived under the cover of darkness, and their screams can clearly be heard on my video.  Researchers have found that these smart animals have plenty to say, and that in their squeals, grunts and oinks there are significant codes. In an outdoor setting these codes may mean asking and telling other pigs where they are, or where food sources can be located, or to signal where there’s danger, to name just a few. The screams I hear at the slaughterhouse as the pigs are forced off the truck into pens are no doubt alerts, warnings, angry or fearful responses – and possibly even reassurances. ‘It’ll be OK guys, let’s just stick together.’

Pigs are so similar to us physiologically that we can have their hearts, albeit modified, transplanted inside our body. It breaks my own heart that up to 60% of pigs in my country, New Zealand, are forced to live their lives in smelly indoor hovels, standing in their own sh^t, without any bedding or stimulation to be found in their tiny, barren, concrete pens for the duration of their short, abused lives. Mother pigs have the worst lives of all, confined here and all over the world in sow crates and farrowing crates where they cannot even turn around, and are helpless to go to the assistance of a sick baby, or to build a nest for them.

I have seen this nest-building instinct for myself.   A few months ago I rescued three pigs from slaughter, and kept them on my property until they could be rehomed.  Although it was summer, the weather can suddenly turn bad.   One day black clouds rolled over ahead and it began to bucket down.   I ran out to see what I could do, and observed Hope, the only female, going to where I had put hay bales, and starting to pull them apart.  When my three piggies started to burrow into the hay I realised Hope had built a shelter from the rain for her and her brothers. 

Male pigs also build nests.  A friend who lives in Victoria, Australia, tells me that his Sunny Boy spends hours crawling through junk to collect objects for his nest, and ‘goes nuts’ at his humans if they try to touch it.  I guess that’s the artistic temperament!  Gary told me that his nest is 100% Sunny’s artwork, with the treasures he has found deliberately placed in various juxtapositions around where he lies.  Gary has seen him carefully contemplating what’s worthy of his art installation, and the decision is never easy. Life choices and self expression are important to Sunny, according to Gary, and are his biggest traits.  Sometimes Sunny builds a ‘wall’ in front of him when he is sleeping, a way to keep him safe while he snoozes.  Obviously he has nothing to fear, but an animal’s instincts are strong. 

I will continue doing my vigils until every slaughterhouse in my country has closed down for good.  This will only happen when people stop paying farmers and slaughterhouse workers to do their work.  I will continue until these consumers make the decision to adopt a healthy, sustainable, compassionate vegan diet. 

Good luck to me.

The feature photo is of Hope.  The photo below is of the Gary’s artistic Sunny Boy.


From Meatpacker to Animal Rights Activist – Gaylene Smith

Millions of animals are killed in slaughterhouses in New Zealand every year – but very little is heard about the people doing the work there. Here Gaylene Smith, a former abattoir worker and current Animal Rights activist, describes her job working as a meatpacker in Otago from 1999 to 2004. 


EAS How long did you work in the meatpacking/slaughter Industry in New Zealand? 

A total of nearly five years.  From 1999 to 2001 I worked at PPCS in Mosgiel, Dunedin. There were no animals killed there, as the sheep carcasses were shipped from Finnegan freezing works in Balclutha.   From 2001 to 2004 I worked for Heartland Prime Meats in Cromwell, Central Otago.  They processed sheep, and at the end of my time there, bobby calves began arriving.

What was your job?  Describe a typical day. 

I was a meatpacker.   Every day I started at 6am. I would get changed into my white overalls, plastic apron, white gloves and gumboots. My hair was long and I had to tie it up and put a hairnet on. I also wore earmuffs to help the noise levels.

The first thing I did was to set up my workstation to get ready for the sawmen/boners. It was all about putting out the quota for the day. Some days the sawmen and boners would go super fast so they could get out early.  My main tasks were to vacuum-pack legs; put boned forequarters (front portion of the animal, including leg and half carcass) into tubes of plastic; pack 20-30kg boxes of ribs; put tenderloins onto plastic trays and then plastic wrap; put rump steaks and back straps onto plastic trays.

Were you well paid?

I was well paid. When I left after they started slaughtering calves I took a big pay drop, and had to travel to Queenstown for work from Cromwell, a distance of around 50k.

Was there much chitchat going on in the workplace?  Was music piped over to help the monotony? 

Yes there was lots of chat, and also music.  At PPCS I had earmuffs with a built in radio, and at Heartland we had a radio.

Who were the people who worked alongside you?  Did you have good relations with them?

I am the sort of person that gets on well with everyone I work with.  I liked to be lighthearted and to play jokes on people. For example, I told the boss’s daughter she had to blow in the bag as we had run out of air!  We didn’t see much of the white collar staff, every now and then an office person would come through, but not often.   Even though I had a good working relationship with other staff I  didn’t associate with them outside of work.

Would you say your fellow workers were a mixed bunch?  What percentage female to male?  Young (teenagers, twenties) or older 50s plus?  

The slaughter men were from Fiji and were Muslim, as the meat we processed was halal. There were many more men than women, and as a woman you had to stand up for yourself.   I had some inappropriate remarks from my Supervisor, for example.  Most of the employees were pakeha men, there were only a couple of Maori that I recall.  The average age was probably around 30.

Would you say staff morale was high/low?

Most days it was high. But it changed when they started slaughtering bobby calves.

Were the workplaces well-organised (clear systems and procedures in place, staff rights respected etc)?

Yes they were well run.

Was the quota you were working to demanding?  Did people get pains in their hands, eg rsi, or have sore legs, neck or back at the end of the day? 

All of the above. I was off work for over a year with RSI. There were a lot of people with pains due to the fast pace that you had to keep. It could be dangerous, too.  I remember a girl who got her arm caught in the conveyor belt, crushing it.

Did you have personal contact with the animals?

Normally you don’t have contact with the animals when you work as a packer, but you were aware of them.  The sheep were quiet, you normally wouldn’t hear them in the pens, but the bobby calves you definitely would hear.  They would be in their pens, crying.

What happened to the sheep after they arrived at the slaughterhouse?

They were offloaded from the trucks into pens, and generally they were held there overnight for processing the next day. When their turn came, they would be pushed up the race to be stunned and their throats cut.   Their heads, feet and hides were removed, then they would go into the chiller and sit overnight to cool off for processing in the boning room.  Eventually they would find their way to us, for packing.

Did you see much blood on the tables, floors, walls?

If you went onto the slaughter floor there was blood, ear tags, fur, etc. In fact if I went into the slaughter floor the boys would try to put blood on me, because they knew I didn’t like it. You got used to the job, and the smell, but the first thing I did every day when I got home was to take a shower.

How did you feel at the time for working here?  How do you feel about it now?  

I tried not to think of what was happening in the pens and slaughter floor. I had two young children that I was bringing up as a solo Mum. When they started to process the wee bobby calves was when I decided that I needed to get out of the industry. I never ever watched an animal die, I would have gotten upset. It was bad enough going to the pens when the calves were there. They came up to me and sucked my fingers. I would go home crying every day because they were only babies (between 24 and 72 hours old). I had to look for a new job as killing them  didn’t sit right with my soul. I had a new job within 8 weeks of making the decision to leave.

Looking back, I can see that the experience has made me the person that I am today.

What brought about the change for you – from slaughterhouse worker to vegan animal rights activist?

I have always had empathy for animals. Even as a small child I had imaginary insects that I would keep in my socks. You hear people from the slaughter industry talk about disconnecting themselves from their work, and that is exactly what I did. As I learned more, and as a mother, I really made a connection to animals losing their babies. I find the dairy industry in particular, absolutely despicable, and I wanted to stand up for them. Humans dominate the non-human world by factory farming, raping, exploiting and so much more, and I wanted to be on the side of history that stood with their morals against this.  My father said something to me as a child that has stayed with me. “Don’t kill something because you don’t like it. Everything has a place”.

What’s your job now?

I work in local government now.

Any last words for our readers?

Stand up for what you believe in, even if you are standing alone. You will attract your people, and when you do they will give you the strength to keep fighting. Look into the eyes of a non-human animal and see their soul. Once you have done that there will be no turning back.


Thankyou for your time. 



A Mother Named 940

Animal Activist and poet Monika Arya had a brief encounter with a mother pig on her way to slaughter, and left a trace of kindness in a pain-filled life.


Meet a mother named 940

Womb weakened

Spirit eroded

Her boys turned to bacon

Girls glued to gestation crates

Bear witness to this sow

She had to see her babies smashed against concrete

The rest carted away

Never to be seen again

Here, today

On this day


Lorries roll nonstop on highways

Hauling torn families

Labelled – ‘livestock’

Cars hastily overtake

Trying to outrun the streaming stench

Burrito with bodies buried

They happily munch

Un-hearing the heart wrenching cries

Unseeing the peering eyes

Desperately wanting out

Despondent, desolate

Not wanting to die

Through the bars

I try to reach her

Leave a touch of kindness

Pink skin – gnawed, raw, inflamed

Poked by rusty hooks, electric prodders and rakes

Covering her soft body

Hairs were bristly tough

Life way harder

Death brutal as hell

Obsessive knives slice through

Truck loads of heaving bodies

Like a chef’s knife whizz through chives

Except, she is a mother named 940

And her babies

Her brothers

Her sisters

All numbered like her

Countless before her

Countless after her

Heat-Stressed Pigs – Aotearoa’s inadequate animal welfare laws

On a hot New Zealand Summer’s day activists recorded a truckload of pigs arriving at a slaughterhouse, panting and showing signs of stress brought about by the heat.  The story made the mainstream media and prompted End Animal Slaughter contributor Dr Lynley Tulloch to condemn the Codes of Welfare that govern the animals we farm for food.  


Distressed, panting pig arriving at a Whanganui slaughterhouse. Pigs do not sweat, and the way they cool off is by soaking in water or wallowing in mud, and drinking water.   Photo credit: Sandra Kyle


Recent news coverage of pigs arriving at a Whanganui slaughterhouse is distressing.   These pigs arrived at the slaughterhouse on a crowded truck, hot and panting. Their distress was recorded by Whanganui Animal Save activists.

They were at the end of their journey to be killed for their meat. There is not a lot we know about these individual pigs. But of one thing we can be certain – they have suffered in their lives. And they will suffer up until the second when they die.

Animals being sent to slaughter often travel long distances. Being transported in the middle of a hot day may be unavoidable. It is a very uncomfortable journey. The truck is filthy, hot and noisy with exhaust fumes and slippery floors covered in urine,  excrement and sometimes vomit. Animals suffer from motion sickness just like humans.

The truck is filthy, hot and noisy with exhaust fumes and slippery floors covered in urine, excrement and sometimes vomit. Animals suffer from motion sickness just like humans.

While minimum standards vary all over the world – and in some places there are no minimum standards – in New Zealand, the Code of Welfare states that pigs may go for 6 hours without water and 24 hours without food.   Mature animals (including pigs) also do not need to be unloaded for rest for 24 hours.

The implications of the above are enormous in terms of pig suffering and logistics of handling.

In short, it says that it is legal to transport pigs for 24 hours without rest or food in a hot and smelly truck. It is recommended that they be given water every six hours, and this must be done on board or in an escape-proof area.

Logistically this sounds like a nightmare for both the driver and the pigs!  What’s more, the MPI codes of welfare are only recommendations for best practice and minimum standards. They provide guidance but cannot be legally enforced. And what about the driver?  Drivers are just one part of a very badly designed system of animal agriculture (in this case pig farming).  You cannot lay all the blame on their shoulders.

What’s more, the MPI codes of welfare are only recommendations for best practice and minimum standards. They provide guidance but cannot be legally enforced. And what about the driver? Drivers are just one part of a very badly designed system of animal agriculture (in this case pig farming). You cannot lay the blame all on their shoulders.  

Where does that leave the pigs? Up the proverbial creek without a paddle is where. And this is not a nice place to be.

We only have our mouths and noses covered against the Covid-19 virus, not our eyes. The Codes of Welfare are readily available online for people to look at. If we read these documents in a discerning way, it becomes evident between the lines that there is plenty of room for animals to suffer.

You simply cannot transport huge numbers of animals for many hours in the heat without them suffering.

Photo credit: Sandra Kyle


Animals in Aotearoa New Zealand pass us on transport trucks daily. In fact, witnessing a cow looking worriedly over the top of a transport truck for half an hour before turning into AFFCO was a defining moment for me. That worried face still haunts me. Poor cow.

This is when I stopped eating meat. That was many moons ago now.

The lives and deaths of animals kept for food should not be as easily dismissed as they are. I wonder what kind of a life these pigs lived? Were they born in restrictive farrowing crates and later transferred to fattening pens?  Did they ever feel the sun on their backs? Were they able to develop their personalities and express themselves?

Did you know?

  • That in fattening pens pigs have less than a square metre each. They can’t bathe in the mud to keep cool. They don’t get fresh air or sunlight.
  • That in 2021 there were 242.6 thousand pigs on farms in New Zealand.
  • Pigs raised for meat only live for 4 to 8 months before being killed.
  • Approximately 60% of the commercial pig herd in Aotearoa is raised indoors. They live their whole lives inside, never seeing the sun, never able to forage or wallow in mud. Such a high-stress environment can lead them to attack each other out of sheer frustration.
  • If a piglet is under 7 days of age then their tail can be cut clean off without anaesthesia. This is the applicable Code of Welfare for pigs: “Tail docking of pigs that are under seven days of age must be carried out in a way that creates a clean cut and does not tear the tissue”.  So, in other words, from the time a piglet is born until they are a week old they may legally be tortured. I am not sure whose idea it is that piglets under 7 days of age cannot feel any pain.

Pigs raised in these kind of conditions cannot possibly be happy pigs. And even if they are – what right do we have to enslave them and determine every aspect of their lives from conception through to birth and premature death?  In reality, what we determine for them is a life of torture from beginning to end.

It is my opinion that the legal requirements and guidance provided by the Code of Welfare are inadequate to ensure that animals raised for food production do not suffer.

But then, is there ever truly a way we could make this whole killing game adequate and humane? The hypocrisies of our society are never more evident than in the way we treat animals.


Dr Lynley Tulloch is an animal rights activist and writer, and has a PhD in sustainability education and ecocentric philosophy.

‘Lumps of flesh covered every surface’ – A slaughterhouse worker’s story

In this moving article, End Animal Slaughter contributor Mike Shaw recalls his job as a slaughterhouse worker, his ‘epiphany’ as he was about to kill a young boar, and his view on slaughterhouses now.


I didn’t do well at school, in fact I didn’t do well at childhood.  Bullied, and brought up in social services, I didn’t attend school at all for most of my last year. I still managed to pass one O level, albeit in art, but it wasn’t going to feed me.    I stumbled into retail work as I stumbled into most things in the those days, and should have been a baker but it wasn’t for me. I did though become a butcher in a local supermarket and after a while I could call myself a ‘time-served butcher’ due to experience, something you don’t hear much of nowadays. I had a knack for it.  I could throw a carcass through a bandsaw better and faster than most, and was a dab hand at trusting up a silverside or topside joint.  Then I had to move.  For a while I was homeless while still managing to keep the job down, but it was becoming harder and harder to do.  After a while it proved impossible so I became jobless to go along with my homelessness. I moved a little further up north and managed to get a room with relatives, and they told me about the plant nearby that was looking for workers.   I went on the off chance, and met the manager.   He took me into his office and we had a chat.  He said he was impressed with my credentials, and offered to show me around.

‘There were people in white everywhere you looked, and lumps of bloody flesh covered just about every surface, hung from every available space.  The dead animals outweighed the humans by some 20 to 1’.

The place was vast.  I was used to a butchery department in a store, and wasn’t prepared for this. The noise is the first thing to hit you followed by the smell, something you will never understand until you have never experienced it. There were people in white everywhere you looked, and lumps of bloody flesh covered just about every surface, hung from every available space.  The dead animals outweighed the humans by some 20 to 1.  I got the job.   I started in the cutting bay next to the slaughter bank.  Fresh meat was sent through on hooks to be fashioned into whatever cut of meat was required. I was fast, and before you knew it I was a supervisor. You got used to the noise, machinery, chatter, and sometimes the smell too, but one noise you never got used to was the animals you heard going through the slaughter bank.


But it was just a job.


When they asked me to move through to the slaughter floor, saying they would get me my licence to slaughter, I thought it sounded very James Bond so took the job.  Little did I know.

‘First day in the killing bays they give you a lamb, a knife and a set of electrodes, the idea being if you can kill it you can kill anything. It was less than six months old. They leave you to it, no matter how long it takes. It took me three hours, three hours of trying to not look at it, trying to not make eye contact, three hours before I could dispatch it’.

First day in the killing bays they gave you a lamb, a knife and a set of electrodes, the idea being if you can kill it you can kill anything. It was less than six months old. They leave you to it, no matter how long it takes. It took me three hours, three hours of trying to not look at it, trying to not make eye contact, three hours before I could dispatch it.

It had been several years and I had seen most things come through for slaughter; sheep, goats, bulls, horses, but the one thing I hated seeing coming through more than anything was the pigs.  They knew, they understood what was going on, they screamed, they fought you tooth and nail to stay out, they screamed and they screamed loud.

‘It had been several years and I had seen most things come through for slaughter; sheep, goats, bulls, horses, but the one thing I hated seeing coming through more than anything was the pigs.  They knew, they understood what was going on, they screamed, they fought you tooth and nail to stay out, they screamed and they screamed loud’.

I dreaded the pigs because I knew they knew.

Once an incident occurred that changed everything.  I had had a rough weekend, split up with my girlfriend at the time, and got so drunk it should have killed me.   It was a Monday morning and I was not in the best state of mind, made worse when I saw the paddocks full of pigs delivered in over the weekend.  Not just a couple, but hundreds.  It was going to be a busy day – and the pigs knew.

I put my whites on, grabbed my knife roll and went into the bank.   Outside the door I could hear them coming, high pitched screams and workers trying to muster them through.   They just didn’t want to go, but in they came, covered in old and new scars from journeys and loading and unloading, covered in each other’s shit from not being able to move around in the backs of lorries.  Suddenly there he was standing in front of me,  a young boar, teeth clipped so as to not damage the other ‘goods’, castrated, and screaming at me.

I didn’t realise how long I just stood there, I didn’t realise I had been crying for so long, I didn’t realise they were calling my name.

I just stood there looking at him and he sat looking back at me, no longer screaming. In my mind the same mantra was repeating again and again, “What the fuck are you doing?”

‘Standing knife in one hand electrodes in the other I cried, crying for what I had become, crying for what I was doing, crying for the man now buried deep inside the monster wielding a knife in front of its victim’.

Standing knife in one hand electrodes in the other I cried, crying for what I had become, crying for what I was doing, crying for the man now buried deep inside the monster wielding a knife in front of its victim.

I heard them shout my name.   I turned and who knows how I must have looked, tears on my cheeks and the same look on my face as the pigs, as they try not to go through the doors.  They looked at me wondering what was going on, and I didn’t know either.  Was I having a breakdown? 

No, it wasn’t a breakdown.  It was an epiphany.

I looked back at the young boar,  told him I was sorry, sorry for all I had done.  I dropped the knife and electrodes, took off my whites and dropped them to the floor. I turned and walked out, never to return.

It was just a job, but it wasn’t my job any more.

I moved away from the meat industry, lived my life as normal as others. I learnt to disassociate the same way as the rest of society does. I even carried on eating meat because it comes in styrofoam trays wrapped in clingfilm.

It’s now many years later and I’m now a vegan, an ethical vegan.    I’m here to tell you there is nothing humane within the walls of a slaughterhouse, it’s a place were all humanity is lost.  The existence of slaughterhouses is a terrible blight on our societies, and they need to be closed down forever.

Photo of Mike with his companions Piglet the English Bull Terrier, and Grumble the British Bulldog


The Last Day Of Their Lives – Testimony Of A Slaughterhouse Worker

In this article, undercover vegan/animal activist Alan G recounts his experience in chicken, pig and sheep slaughterhouses in the United States.  (Reprinted from thedoe.com).


“ I saw cruelty everywhere I went. ”

“I can’t save any of them.” That’s what I reminded myself, day after day, as I looked upon the faces of the animals who would soon be slaughtered. “Just do what you came here to do,” I would add, locking my eyes forward to concentrate on the task at hand. There’s no time to stop and be sentimental.

Inside a slaughterhouse, there’s always work to be done.

During the years I was an undercover investigator, I worked at three slaughterhouses in three different states—on behalf of a national farmed animal protection organization. While working, I used hidden camera equipment to document the painful reality of what animals endure on the last day of their lives.

I often asked myself how I ended up where I was. Like a lot of people in the vegan movement, I would call myself an animal lover. When I was young, I only had a few career goals. After seeing Jurassic Park, I wanted to grow up and study reptiles. Then, after consuming copious comic books, I wanted to be a hero. I combined these goals and eventually earned a master’s degree in ecology, with the goal of doing conservation research to protect wild animals. But, while I was in school, I learned about the suffering of farm animals through a labmate, the first vegan I ever knew in real life.

You probably guessed this already, but after a lengthy process, I became a vegan as well. Why wouldn’t I? Not only is meat production cruel, but it’s also notoriously bad for the environment, in terms of land use and emissions. So, it appealed to me as someone interested in conservation. In fact, I was so entranced with veganism and its benefits that I decided to keep my career options somewhat open. I wanted to either end up in field research or in activism. The non-profit I continue to work for today was the first to respond to my resume, which eventually brought me to those slaughterhouses.

I ended up working at chicken, pig and lamb slaughter facilities before I retired from fieldwork. I saw cruelty everywhere I went: some intentional and some as a result of companies trying to maximize speed (and, therefore, profits).


“The birds would struggle; they would flap their wings or defecate out of fear, releasing feathers, blood and feces everywhere.”


Chicken Slaughterhouses: Animal Cruelty Bordering on Torture

My first job undercover was at the poultry plant, working live hang. Our one job was to pull chickens off a conveyor belt and wedge their legs in shackles passing by at eye-level. We were supposed to handle 24 chickens per minute, an impossible timeframe for anything even resembling “humane.” The birds would struggle; they would flap their wings or defecate out of fear, releasing feathers, blood and feces everywhere. The other workers seemed unconcerned with their plight. They would tear feathers off to throw at one another, or press the bodies of chickens against the metal conveyor belt in retaliation against their struggling. Sometimes, the workers at the head of the line would take a few steps back and hurl the birds at the shackles like they were baseballs. Often, the birds would successfully end up in the shackles after these pitches. It was easy to see that the workers had practiced this method.


“Afraid and/or injured, sometimes they wouldn’t want to move—or simply couldn’t. And when the pigs weren’t moving, the workers started to become violent.”


Pig Slaughterhouses: Cruel and Inhumane Methods of Killing

My second position was at a slaughterhouse supplying a household name in pork products. I ended up working two different jobs there, one of which was on the kill floor. Part of the job was herding the animals through chutes and pens until they reached the stunner. Afraid and/or injured, sometimes they wouldn’t want to move—or simply couldn’t. And when the pigs weren’t moving, the workers started to become violent.

We had “rattle paddles,” which look like oars with the flat end filled with noise-making beads. Workers would raise these paddles above their heads and bring them down on the heads or bodies of pigs. Several times, I was admonished by others for not doing this. “Hit them! Hit them!” they would yell at me. We also had access to electrical prods, which other workers would use on animals multiple times, sometimes in the face or near the genitals. The sick ones would be pulled by their tails or shoved out of the pens. We were supposed to use a sled to do that, but a supervisor told me they just didn’t have the time.

When the animals got past the chutes, a worker would use an electrical stunner on them. The hogs would go rigid and fall down a slide to a conveyor belt below. There, a worker would cut their throats. If the cut wasn’t done correctly, the animal wouldn’t bleed out enough to kill them before the stunning wore off, so I documented several pigs returning to sensibility and attempting to right themselves while they were hanging upside down, bleeding from the gaping hole in their throats. Workers were supposed to stop the line to re-stun the animal, but in one instance I witnessed, they didn’t bother, leaving the animal to suffer as the shackle took him slowly towards tanks of scalding water. I remember a choice quote from one worker: “If USDA were around, they could shut us down.”


“After having their throats cut open, 90 percent of the lambs would move in response to having their tails cut off later on the line, indicating they were potentially still sensible. . ”


The Lamb Slaughterhouse: Processing Contaminated Meat

My final investigation was at a slaughterhouse for one of the largest lamb producers in the U.S. I spent a few months working in a refrigerated room all day. The supervisor would tell workers to change the “best by” date labels on older products to falsify their freshness. He would help people avoid putting product through the metal detectors to save time, risking contamination of the meat with metal shavings. And when I finally got a position that would help me observe the slaughter process, we discovered that after having their throats cut open, 90 percent of the lambs would move in response to having their tails cut off later on the line, indicating they were potentially still sensible. What we saw was so egregious we decided to file a False Claims Act against the company, which resulted in a historic intervention from the Department of Justice, a settlement and mandated changes to their slaughtering practices.


Slaughterhouse Workers Suffer Too

Slaughterhouse practices don’t just cause suffering for the animals. Meatpacking plants are notoriously dangerous for workers, with two amputations occurring in the U.S. per week. Most of my jobs were basically assembly line jobs, with workers performing the same action hundreds or thousands of times per day. Injuries are common, especially those caused by the repetitive motions on the line. I remember my hands aching every minute while I was employed in live hang, my knuckles red from holding the bony legs of thousands of chickens.

In another job, I wore a back brace on top of another because I spent all day carrying boxes filled with lamb meat. I cut myself on knives and metal hangers at the pig plant. More than once, I cried in my car before a shift, anticipating the mental and physical anguish I would endure for the next 12 hours. (And, now, during the coronavirus pandemic many Americans are painfully aware of how disease can spread like wildfire inside of these facilities.)

Though all of that is behind me now, it is still the reality for the billions of animals who are slaughtered every year. While I’m retired from undercover work, I’m still very much an activist for animals. As part of my job, I work with footage from other investigators and witness the same cruelty I saw firsthand. But it’s worth it, because I want people to see what I saw, as hard as it can be to watch. Despite the efforts of investigators like myself, there are still so many people who have no idea where their “food” comes from, and what horrible atrocities they’re paying into by buying animal products. My hope is that everyone who is even a little curious about what I went through can take the time to watch some of the footage brought back from these facilities. As someone who was on the inside, I hope the reality of the plight reaches you.


There is no such thing as an ethical carnivore

In 2016 British author and journalist Louise Gray wrote a book entitled ‘The Ethical Carnivore: My Year Killing To Eat‘.  In this Guardian article she describes her visit to a pig slaughterhouse for the first time.

“I follow Phil into the “killing room” and force myself to look. The pigs come in two by two, because they are the most intelligent, “the most pally”, of animals, and because they do not like to be alone. The two slaughtermen stand above the pigs in a small stall – strong men, able to keep the pigs back with their legs”. 

“They say it happens quickly and it does. But you know what? It is not the killing that is the most violent thing. It is what happens next: it is the skinning, the burning, the boiling … the evisceration”.

‘The men can kill 20 pigs in an hour,’ says Phil. ‘They work eight-hour shifts from 7am to 4.30pm, with breaks.” It is a hard, physical job: they are as strong and unfeeling as the iron equipment, busy, alert, with ruddy cheeks; one has diamante earrings like David Beckham’.

It is an interesting read, but at End Animal Slaughter we believe that there is nothing ethical about killing animals for food when we don’t have to.    Alternative protein ‘meats’ do not involve the suffering and killing of any sentient animal and are more sustainable for the planet.  They are the future of food.

Read the Guardian Article Here




The Horse Who Couldn’t Run Fast Enough – The Sad Fate of Wonder Dreamer’s Foal

It is a heartbreaking picture, snapped with a cellphone.  A young horse, not yet two years old,  has just arrived at a slaughterhouse in South Korea.  The position of his ears show a heightened state of alertness, and blood trickles from his left nostril.  He looks as if he’s trying to locate the source of the frightening sounds or smells that bombard him, and within his body his large heart beats rapidly.

Soon he will be standing in a stun box designed for cattle, and will be knocked out with the same hammer his executioners use for cows:  ‘Things may get a little messy if they do not pass out at the first blow’ said a Korean official. 

Before he is himself killed, he may witness the death of a companion.   He is the unnamed foal of US racehorse ‘Wonder Dreamer’, and he is going to slaughter because he was considered too slow to race.

All over the world equine athletes and their offspring are disposed of for human consumption or pet food.  In 2019 an ABC expose revealed the shocking truth of what happens to ex racehorses in Australia (graphic), and a PETA investigation uncovered the fate of American horses similar to the one year old horse in South Korea.

The only way this terrible suffering inflicted on beautiful animals can be stopped is for racing authorities all over the world to implement comprehensive retirement plans for unwanted horses. Better still, this cruel and exploitative industry should be banned altogether.

Warning:  Our feature article contains images and information that are upsetting.

Read the PETA article here




Death By A Thousand Cuts – How we Make Farmed Animals Suffer In The Slaughter Process

In this article End Animal Slaughter contributor Lynley Tulloch claims that the suffering of animals sent to slaughter is far from instantaneous.  (All photos taken at slaughterhouses in Whanganui, New Zealand, by Sandra Kyle)


A recent article in Stuff claimed that “meatworks are ‘gory and messy and nasty’, but the slaughtering’s humane”. While the article acknowledges the stressful process of transportation of animals, it makes the assertion that the killing itself is painless. It claims that the stunning process that immediately precedes the actual slaughter is instantaneous, and renders the animal insensible while s/he is killed.

This may well be true, provided the stunning process is effective every time. And yet, I remain unconvinced that we can narrow the slaughter down to that one instant. I think it is important that we don’t separate the transportation and holding of animals in slaughterhouse pens from the actual slaughter, and consider how the whole process makes the animals suffer.


Cows waiting overnight at Land Meats slaughterhouse Whanganui, New Zealand, for slaughter the next day.  


The Codes of Welfare governing animal slaughter and transport in New Zealand are woefully inadequate to prevent suffering on a mass scale.  Animals sent to slaughter often travel long distances.  It is a very uncomfortable journey.  They travel in filthy, hot and noisy carriages, putting up with exhaust fumes and slippery floors covered in urine and excrement.    It’s not exactly the Orient Express.

Animals going to slaughter travel in open trucks in all weathers, and stand on slippery floors covered with their own excrement.  


New Zealand has a Code of Welfare for Transport .   I think that most people accept this as evidence that animals have their welfare needs met during transport. Yet even when adhering to this Code animals suffer horrendously.  The Code sets a minimum standard for the time between which animals must go without water. For ruminants such as cows this is 24 hours. If the ruminants are pregnant or lactating, then it is 12 hours. This is timed from the period within which water is first removed to within 2 hours of arrival at the slaughterhouse. Mature animals also do not need to be unloaded for rest for 24 hours.

The implications of the above minimum standard are enormous in terms of animal suffering. Adult animals can legally be on a truck for 24 hours, and during this time may not be offered water or rest. They also can legally go without food for 36 hours.


Animals are often already hungry when they arrive at the slaughterhouse, and are legally permitted to go without food for 36 hours before their slaughter. 


In short, it is legal to transport mature animals for 24 hours without rest, water, or food in a hot and smelly truck. For young 4- 10-day old calves they can legally go 12 hours on a truck and 24 hours without milk.  ‘Milk lambs’ (those still being fed by mother) can legally go 28 hours without a feed before being slaughtered.  This is the high animal welfare standards New Zealand boasts of.


Bobby calves (surplus to requirements and killed at a few days old) can legally go 24 hours without milk and spend up to 12 hours travelling to their slaughter. 


Once at their destination the animals are loaded into pens where they wait for their turn to die. This video (non graphic) shows animals at a slaughterhouse in Whanganui, New Zealand, taken by animal rights activist Sandra Kyle on February 22, 2021.


The temperature was in the 20 degree plus range, yet for most of the animals there is absolutely no shelter from the sun, and they are all packed in tightly.   Yet the New Zealand Commercial Slaughter Code of Welfare states that:

 “The lairage must provide adequate shelter from adverse weather conditions and ventilation to protect the welfare of the animals being held for slaughter.”

Animals waiting in slaughter pens often have no shelter, and often have to wait for many hours packed in tightly.  


We can see that the New Zealand Animal Welfare codes are at most a  ‘best practice’ guide,  and are interpreted to benefit those in the Industry and not the animals themselves. In response to a recent query about animal transport, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) replied:

‘Farmers send cattle for sale or slaughter for numerous reasons, including to reduce the stocking rate if feed is limited and to remove unproductive animals from the herd. The reason why an animal is sent for slaughter is not recorded.

All livestock transported to slaughter should have a comfortable and safe journey, arriving in a fit and healthy state. It’s the responsibility of farmers to make sure cows are adequately prepared for transport, able to withstand the stress of travel, and are handled in a manner that minimises stress and injury’.

Although it is an offence to transport cattle late in pregnancy unless they are travelling with veterinary certification, every year in New Zealand there are cases of animals giving birth either during transport or at the slaughterhouse itself.   In 2020, 50 infringement notices of $500.00 were issued to farmers who sent their cattle in late stages of pregnancy to be slaughtered. While some births are on the truck, the majority are in the holding pens.  The  Commercial Slaughter Code of Welfare states:

“When animals give birth in the holding pens, the welfare of both dam and offspring must be protected.”

Exactly how they should be protected is not specified, again leaving it open to interpretation. It is highly disturbing that any animal would begin their life in a slaughterhouse,  even more disturbing that the newborn calf is immediately then killed.  And of course, after giving birth the mother will then be slaughtered herself.

If the calf has not birthed, then the regulations during the slaughter of pregnant cows is for the calf to remain in utero “for at least 15-20 minutes after the maternal neck cut or thoracic stick.” If the calf shows any sign of life after being removed from the womb it must be immediately stunned and killed.

This ‘best practice’ presents unique ethical issues. Does the unborn calf feel pain? The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) reports that calves in utero are insentient and unconscious due to neuro–inhibitors in the brain. However, the ability of calves to feel pain in utero, especially in the third trimester, cannot be ruled out entirely.

Cows may also be lactating when sent to slaughter. The regulation for lactating cows in New Zealand are as follows:

“Lactating dairy cattle with distended udders must be slaughtered within 24 hours of arrival unless milked.”

It is, in my opinion, unethical that lactating cows stand in a holding pen for any length of time, let alone 24 hours, dripping milk from their distended and painful udders.


One last look at freedom


The above instances of transport, waiting in holding pens, and giving birth at the slaughterhouse are examples of how inadequate our codes are to protect helpless animals sent to slaughter.  It is time to squarely face how we regulate the lives of animals to profit ourselves at the same time causing them great pain and distress.   What we are doing is not in any way ‘humane’ and does not come under the umbrella of ‘welfare’. Similarly, we cannot narrow ‘slaughter’ down to the one instant in which the animals heart is stopped.  It is just one small part of a long  journey to death for farmed animals.  Death by a thousand cuts.

You have a choice not to be a part of this horror story.   Please choose compassion over suffering,  and eat a plant-based diet. 

Dr Lynley Tulloch is an animal rights activist and writer, and has a PhD in sustainability education and ecocentric philosophy.



They Are Not Yours To Roast: Animals Who Flee The Slaughterhouse

End Animal Slaughter Contributor Lynley Tulloch writes that animals who flee the slaughterhouse should never have been there in the first place.


Shrek is our famous Merino New Zealand sheep who gained notoriety in 2004 by evading shearers for six years and hiding in caves. He shot to fame, was shorn on national television, met the then Prime Minister, and became the stuff of children’s books.

Shrek the Sheep.  (Image Source stuff.co.nz)


Now some sheep in the United Kingdom have reached headlines after escaping the torturous environment of a slaughterhouse.  The sheep were reported by Metro to have ‘defiantly’ run away and were chased by a man in  butcher’s overalls down an urban street. Lamb leg roast be damned, locals were reportedly urging the sheep to ‘run sheep run’!

I have read stories of these ‘escapee’ animals over the years, and they have always struck me as desperately sad. Animals will literally climb mountains and swim seas to try and find safety for themselves.

A cow called Molly reportedly jumped a  5 ½ foot fence at a Montana slaughterhouse and sprinted across a busy highway before swimming across the Missouri River. When she was caught she was adopted by a sanctuary due to popular concern for her.

Molly the Cow’s bid for freedom. ( mage Source: nbcnews.com)


There is a similar report of a  ‘runaway cow’ in Poland who escaped a slaughterhouse in 2018, rammed a metal fence, and broke a worker’s ribs and an arm. She swam to the islands of Lake Nyksie. As far as I know she is still there as she continues to dive under water to escape humans.

Some don’t end as well. A 900kg bull escaped the Frankton saleyards in 2017 and was shot to death. They said he was ‘rampaging’ on the streets of Hamilton in New Zealand. If he saw people he got ‘agitated’. Go figure.

And then there was Meteor the ‘aloof yak’ from Virginia in the United States. In 2019 Meteor escaped from a farm truck on the way to slaughter. He bolted like the meteoric legend he is and suddenly everyone wants him to survive, even while chewing on their steaks.

Meteor the Elusive Yak. (Image Source: independent.co.uk)


Go, Meteor go! He is now a celebrity of sorts – a unique and clever bovine. Or so the story goes. Meteor wanders the hills, a lone and wonderful bull. A bull who deserves to live. His ‘owner’ Robert Cissell reportedly said that if Meteor was caught he would ‘live out his life, now he is a celebrity’.

How disingenuous.  Suddenly Meteor, who previously was nothing but fodder for humans, nothing but a chunk of rare steak bleeding on your plate, is now a shooting star.

Shine on Meteor. In my book you deserved to live all along.

We conveniently ignore animal sentience until we can identify with it. We recognize the plight of runaway animals. We feel a stirring of compassion. It’s not a bad thing – it’s a great thing – I just wish it were not so selective.

Even animal rights group PETA joins in with this narrative. Branding the escapee animals as ‘ambassadors’ they say that they must be granted their freedom. They must be allowed to live because they showed such ‘ingenuity and determination’.

Don’t get me wrong. I want the sheep to live. I want all sheep to live, not just the ones who found a hole in the slaughterhouse enclosure and ran for it.

I want Meteor to live. But I also wanted the 6000 cows who drowned off the coast of Japan when the Gulf Livestock 1 capsized in a typhoon to live. Those cows did not have the opportunity to be ‘defiant’ against their human captors but were no less worthy of living.

One of the 6,000 NZ cars who drowned off the coast of Japan.  (Image Source: abc.net.au)


It’s tempting to hold these escapee animals up as heroes deserving of compassion.  Animal rights advocates often use their stories to demonstrate the sentience of animals and the strength of their desire to live. Meat eaters identify with their plight and want to grant them a stay of execution. We place on them qualities such as courage and determination.

We should be focusing on their fear as well. We should be thinking about our relationship with all animals and what we do to them through farming.

All farm animals suffer one way or another. This is especially true at the slaughterhouse where they are enclosed in a noisy and foreign environment. They have endured a terrifying transport ordeal and are looking for a way out. As animals are individuals they will respond in different ways . They react to stress with the ‘flight or fight’ response just like humans. Still others might be quieter and react by withdrawing into themselves.

Young steer waiting for slaughter. (Image Source: Sandra Kyle)


Being herd animals cows will usually do their best to flee from danger. These incidents are less a result of a ‘courageous animal’ as they are the opportunity to escape presenting itself.  No animal should be put in this position in the first place.

Animals have emotions and they think. There is continuity in the emotional lives of animals and humans, of that we can be certain. Life is emotionally vivid for animals who strive to stay alive, and to get the basics such as food and shelter. They also express joy and have ambitions and plan and think ahead. They develop bonds with other animals.

Animals are complex.   They develop bonds and have plans.  (Image Source: Live Kindly)


So if you want those sheep to live, if you find yourself cheering them on, you already believe in their freedom. There is only one thing to do. Put down your fork. Don’t pick up the dead bodies of their cousins in the supermarket and roast them.

(Image source stuff.co.nz)


Lynley Tulloch is an animal rights activist and writer.  She has a PhD in Sustainability Education and Ecocentric Philosophy