Local pig abattoir faces charges of animal cruelty

The National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) has confirmed that criminal charges have been laid against Enterprise Foods trading as Pork Packers Abattoir in Olifantsfontein.

The abattoir’s method of ‘stunning’ pigs prior to slaughter is considered to be unacceptable, inhumane and a violation of the Animals Protection Act. Six charges of animal cruelty have been alleged against Pork Packers, a division of Tiger Brands.

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Pigs ‘scream’ while being ‘stunned’ at Olifantsfontein abattoir

According to the NSPCA this is the only red-meat abattoir in South Africa which uses carbon dioxide (CO2) gas to ‘pre-stun’ pigs prior to slaughter.

The NSPCA has obtained graphic material taken at the abattoir which shows disturbing images of pigs being incapacitated with CO2 prior to slaughter.

“The disturbing findings were obtained by inspectors from the NSPCA’s Farm Animal Protection Unit who needed to obtain warrants to obtain access to the abattoir to enable a full investigation of the method used to ‘pre-stun’ the pigs before slaughter,” the NSPCA said in a statement on Tuesday.

The process involves caged pigs being mechanically lowered into a pit (also known as a ‘Gondola System’) which is pre-filled with CO2. This gondola gas system is remotely managed by Butina, an offsite Danish company.

After exposure to the CO2 gas, the pigs suffocate as a result of the lack of oxygen. But until they lose consciousness, the pigs display violent reactions, including panic-like symptoms such as kicking, gasping and frantic efforts to escape by climbing on top of one another.

To date, the NSPCA’s concerns have not been addressed and/or rectified and the gassing method is still being used.

“We believe that if we are going to eat meat, the very least we can do is ensure that the animals’ welfare is considered and to ensure humaneness from birth to death.”

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