Game of Thrones star Jerome Flynn has collaborated with animal rights charity Viva! in a campaign against pig gassing.
Around 86 percent of pigs in the UK are killed using an 80 percent concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) gas. The gas forms an acid on wet surfaces it touches, including their eyes, lungs, and throats. Pigs will thrash about and scream as it “burns them from the inside.” It can take up to one minute for them to be rendered unconscious.
Flynn described the footage, which was produced by the Plant Based News creative team for Viva!, as some of the most “disturbing” he has ever seen.
“Look at them,” he said. “You can see the fear and desperation in their eyes. They’re just like us in all ways that matter, but they spend their last moments screaming in pain while being gassed to death.”
Flynn, who has been vegan for a number of years, added that it “looks like something out of our worst nightmares.” He went on to explain that it is real, and happening in slaughterhouses across the UK.
“Listen to their screams,” he said. “Is a quick meal really worth their suffering? When I learnt the truth about animal agriculture, I never looked at the world in the same way again.”
Pigs in the UK
Around 10 million pigs are killed each year in the UK. The majority (around two thirds) are factory farmed.
Female pigs (known as sows) will be repeatedly artificially inseminated throughout their lives, and forced to live in cages known as “farrowing crates” for around six weeks after giving birth.
These crates don’t offer her any room to turn around, and scarcely room to move at all. Her piglets will suckle from a small area next to her, which is called “the creep.” She is unable to access, nuzzle, or in any way take care of her babies.
Mutilations are common in pig farming. Piglets will often have their tails cut off hours after birth. They may often have their four most prominent front teeth cut off in a process known as “teeth clipping.” These procedures are often done without anesthetic.
While the majority are gassed with CO2 at the slaughterhouse, the rest will be stunned and have their throats cut. Numerous investigations have shown, however, that improper stunning is rife. An investigation by Animal Aid into 11 randomly chosen slaughterhouses found that pigs weren’t being stunned properly in almost every one. This means that they were alive when they had their throats cut, and sometimes even conscious when plunged into scalding tanks of hot water.