Everyone knows about lobsters and crabs being boiled alive, but they are not the only animals that suffer this fate. People are also gaining awareness about China often skinning animals, such as cats, alive. But, did you know we often plunge live pigs into boiling water, chickens too, and rabbits are often skinned alive in our own country?
In the United States humane slaughter laws do not cover poultry, such as chickens or turkeys, nor do these laws extend to fish, or even rabbits. As such these animals often suffer clearly out of our own failure to provide them with the same laws we extend to cattle, horses, and lambs.
You might then wonder how animals such as cattle, and lambs, are slaughtered.
The main method (although there are others) of slaughtering these animals is by first giving them a stunning bolt to their head (often termed a rubber bullet). As long as they are unconscious enough that they cannot stand on their own – they are considered ready for the next step, which is to be hoisted in the air by one, or both, hind legs. As this point their throat is slashed, and they bleed to death. Only then are they skinned and so forth.
Pigs may be dunked, following stunning, into boiling water, to remove their hairs, prior to having their throat cut (afterwards would cause water to enter the body cavity). There have been all sorts of stories about pigs “waking up” during this painful procedure.
Turkeys – do they not deserve a humane slaughter? Photo by Cyndy Sims Parr (I have a bad feeling about this) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Alas the poor chickens (and other birds) have no laws (at least not in the USA) regarding humane slaughter, some are gassed, and many are treated very cruelty prior to their death – day old male chicks tossed onto a conveyor belt and fed into a grinder. In fact the chicken is one of the most cruelly kept and cared for animals in our food chain. Chickens are also the most slaughtered animal of all (indeed one dead chicken feeds far fewer people than one dead cow). With no humane slaughter laws to protect them, birds are often carried upside down – while conscious, tossed around, and treated with no regard to the fact they are living animals, capable of feeling pain and suffering.