Posted 20 Oct 2021
CO2 gas shortages
Posted on the 24th September 2021
There have been ongoing news reports that thousands of pigs are said to be ‘backing up’ on farms due to a shortage of workers, with additional concerns raised that healthy pigs might ‘need to be killed’ on the farm. During 'business as usual,' perfectly healthy pigs are killed at the slaughterhouse, at a fraction of their natural lifespan. Recent news includes many stories about a potential national shortage of carbon dioxide gas (CO2) which may further compound the situation.
Whilst we appreciate the very grave concerns surrounding CO2 shortages from a healthcare perspective, this has hardly been mentioned. Frustratingly, the focus has largely been on the impact upon the provision of two products, without which it is perfectly possible to live a very happy and healthy life; namely, fizzy drinks and meat. The fact that CO2 is used to carbonate ‘fizzy’ drinks is self-explanatory. The meat industry also uses CO2 gas during the slaughtering of the vast majority of pigs and chickens killed for their meat in Britain. The gas is also used for packaging and chilling meat.
Voices from the meat industry have been busy creating panic-inducing messaging about ‘Christmas needing to be cancelled’ and putting out a call for the Government to ‘save Christmas’. There is now to be a short-term government bail-out of a fertilizer manufacturer whose plant closures are at the heart of the situation. This means that public money is being used to prop up the meat industry, which is tremendously damaging to the environment, and pushing us further towards impending climate calamity.
Many people will not be aware of the horrendously cruel practice of gassing pigs with carbon dioxide. The severe welfare problems inherent in the use of high CO2 concentrations to slaughter pigs have been known about for a long time and have been exposed by Dutch group Eyes on Animals and Australian group Farm Transparency Project.
Pigs are loaded, in groups, into revolving cages and lowered into a ‘pit’ where they are exposed to high concentrations of CO2. The gas causes immense suffering to pigs before they eventually lose consciousness. Studies have shown pigs gasp for air, their airways burning as they squeal, panic and struggle to escape for up to a minute before losing consciousness. Afterwards, they are shackled and hung by a rear leg and their throats cut. According to a recent Food Standards Agency survey of slaughtering facilities*, around 86% of pigs in England and Wales are stunned with high concentrations of carbon dioxide gas before being killed.
Approximately 70% of chickens (exploited for their meat) and 92% of ex-laying hens are stunned using CO2 gas or a mixture. This is done in a chamber whilst the birds are still in plastic ‘catching’ crates.
All of the leading supermarkets are said to now use gas stunning for pigs. This is for economics and convenience over animal welfare. As a nation of animal lovers, we cannot continue to condone and financially support this unacceptable practice.
The only way to avoid supporting such treatment of animals is to choose not to eat them. Choose a vegan diet and spare pigs and chickens this unimaginable suffering.
Please visit the vegan section of our website for recipes and information.
‘Thousands of pigs are said to be ‘backing up’ on farms due to a shortage of workers. A CO2 gas shortage is also on the horizon (which will only be mitigated in the short-term by a bail out of millions of £’s in public funds). Much has been made of the impact on the British meat industry, who use CO2 gas during the slaughtering of around 86% of pigs. Many people are unaware of the horrendously cruel practice of using high CO2 concentrations to stun pigs. Studies have shown pigs gasp for air, their airways burning as they squeal, panic and struggle to escape for up to a minute before losing consciousness. As a ‘nation of animal lovers’, we cannot continue to condone and financially support this horrifyingly cruel practice. A better solution to this issue is for people to choose a vegan diet and spare animals this unimaginable suffering. Visit: https://www.animalaid.org.uk/veganism/’ – Tor Bailey, Campaign Manager, Animal Aid
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