Report from a Swedish slaughterhouse


Report from a Swedish slaughterhouse

14 April 2020
Djurens Rätt
In her new book "Report from a slaughterhouse", Swedish veterinarian Lina Gustafsson describes the experiences of working in a slaughterhouse where several thousand pigs are stunned each day with carbon dioxide.

We've known for 20 years that CO2 stunning of pigs is a very painful anesthetic method. Nevertheless, this is the most used technique in Swedish slaughterhouses. Research has shown that pigs exposed to carbon dioxide anesthesia suffer from fear, pain and stress.

The main reason for the widespread of CO2 stunning is that the method enables a high pace. Large number of animals can be stunned and slaughtered in a very short time, which is a prerequisite for a low price of pork.

The real price is, of course, paid by the pigs. 

It can take about one and a half minutes in the gas before the pigs lose consciousness. This is why, in collaboration with Eurogroup for Animals, Djurens Rätt is dedicated to identify alternative stunning methods which would be in line with animals' well-being. 

As long as carbon dioxide stunning of pigs is allowed and practiced, Sweden's animal welfare legislation on the slaughter of pigs is just words on paper. 

Linda Björklund, ethologist Djurens Rätt

Besides confirming horrific conditions of the CO2 stunning, Lina Gustafsson's book also takes a look at the working conditions. She says:

"A slaughterhouse is an extreme workplace, but you quickly go through a normalization process. You do the work within the existing framework, you can't do anything to change it, you small-talk during the breaks, you act like at a regular workplace..." 

In addition, the book portrays a role of veterinarians and administrative staff in the slaughter process. Without wanting to demonize their role, the author says that it's was important to make the brutal system of animal farming industry visible. She says that the report doesn't focus on a scandal or an exception, but on the everyday life of animals in Sweden. 

The post 'Report from a Swedish slaughterhouse' is modified from an article published by Djurens Rätt in their original language.