AR-FAQ - #48

#48 The animals are killed so fast that they don't feel any pain or even know they're being killed; what's wrong with that?

This view can only be maintained by those unfamiliar with modern meat production methods. Great stress occurs during transport in which millions die miserably each year. And the conveyor-belt approach to the slaughtering process causes the animals to struggle for their lives as they experience the agony of the fear of death. Only people who have never watched the process can believe that they don't feel any pain or aren't aware that they're being killed. One point that many people are unaware of is that poultry is exempted from the requirements of the Humane Slaughter Act. Egg-laying hens are typically not stunned before slaughter. Also exempt from the act are animals killed under Kosher conditions (see question #49). But even if no suffering were involved, the killing of sensitive, intelligent animals on a vast scale (over six billion each year in the U.S. alone) cannot be regarded as morally correct, especially since today it is demonstrably clear that eating animal flesh is not only unnecessary but even harmful for people. Fellow-mammals are not like corn or carrots. To treat them as if they were is to perpetuate an impoverished morality which is based not on rationality but merely tradition. DVH

Even the climactic killing process itself is not so clean as one is led to believe. Every method carries strong doubts about its "humaneness". For example, consider electrocution. We routinely give anesthetics to people receiving electro-shock therapy due to its painful effects. Consider the pole-axe. It requires great skill to deliver a perfect, instantly fatal blow. Few possess the skill, and many animals suffer from the ineptness with which the process is administered. Consider Kosher slaughter, where an animal is hoisted and bled to death without prior stunning. Often joints are ruptured during the hoisting, and the death is a slow, conscious one. The idea of a clean, painless kill is a fantasy promulgated by those with a vested interest in the continuance of the practices. DG