Environmental and Animal Protection

To begin with the question should be posed, whether a short life lived under humane conditions ethically justifies the killing of an animal. Killing a healthy animal contradicts real, sincere animal protection. But there is an even more important reason: Even though these “organic” animals do not grow up suffering the cruelty of mass-farmning, they are killed in the same abattoirs as the animals from “factory farms”. Since the average person has never visted a normal abattoir, we will leave the procedures used for experts to describe. But we can take the liberty of allowing you to form your own opinion on abattoirs and their impact on us and on animals:

Firstly, the report by former vetinery student and current vetinarian Christiane M. Haupt (from: http://www.vegetarismus.ch/heft/98-2/schlacht.htm) on her experiences in an average German slaughterhouse titled: “For a mouthful of meat…"

“The inscription above the concrete ramps reads: “Only animals that are transported in accordance with animal protection laws and that are correctly identified are accepted”. At the end of the ramp lies a dead pig, pale and stiff. ‘Yes, some die already during transport. From cardiac arrest.’ Luckily I have brought my old jacket. At the beginning of October it is already freezing cold. That, however, is not the only reason for me to shiver. I bury my hands in my pockets and try to keep a friendly face as I listen to the director of the abattoir. He explains that for a long time there has been no complete health check on animals, only an inspection. 700 pigs per day – how else could they cope? “There are no sick animals anyway. They would be sent back immediately, and the supplier would face a stiff fine. They only try it once and then never again.” I nod obligingly – stay calm. Keep a stiff upper lip. You have to get through these six weeks somehow – and wonder what happens to sick pigs. “There is a special abattoir for them.”
I hear about transport regulations and how important the protection of animals is these days. These words, pronounced in a place like this, have a macabre ring to them.
In the meantime a double-decker lorry has pulled up at the ramp. Screams and grunts emerge from it. It is difficult to distinguish details in the dim morning light; the whole scene seems surreal and is reminiscent of sinister television reports from war zones – rows of grey train wagons into which terrified, pale-faced people are being driven by armed men. All of a sudden I find myself in the middle of the horror. This is the stuff nightmares are made of, from which one awakes in a cold sweat, terrified – surrounded by fog and icy cold, in the dirty half-light of this repulsive building, this flat anonymous block of concrete, steel and white tiles at the edge of a frozen wood: it is here where the indescribable happens, that nobody wants to know about.

The cries are the first thing I hear when I arrive to start my practical training. It is obligatory; a refusal to participate would have meant five years of studies gone to waste and the end to all my future plans. Nevertheless, every fibre in my body, every thought in my head screams rejection. I am disgusted and shocked and feel utterly helpless. Being forced to watch, being unable to help. They are forcing me to participate, to soil myself with blood. As I get off the bus, even from a distance the screams of the pigs cut through me like a knife. For six weeks this sound will be in my ears, hour after hour, without respite. Stand firm. For me there is an end to this ordeal. For the animals, there isn’t. This is one of the things one has nightmares about, from which one awakes in a cold sweat, terrified. An empty square, some refrigerated lorries. From a brightly lit doorway, half pig carcasses hanging from hooks are visible. Everything meticulously clean. This is the front. I am looking for the entrance, which I find at the side. Two cattle trucks pass, yellow headlights in the morning mist. A dim light shows me the way, brightly lit windows. A few steps – and I am inside. White tiles everywhere. Nobody in sight. A white corridor – there is the changing room for ladies. It is almost seven and I change: white, white and white again! My borrowed helmet is wobbling grotesquely on my straight hair. My boots are too big. I shuffle back to the corridor and almost run into the responsible veterinarian. A polite greeting: “I’m the new trainee.” Formalities before the start. “Put on something warm, go and see the director and hand over your medical certificate. Dr. XX will then tell you what to do.”