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17,000 Pigs Die on Transport Trucks

Written by PETA | December 12, 2008
Number of animals found dead each year when trucks are unloaded at Canadian slaughterhouses:
2 million broiler chickens
400,000 egg-layers, breeders
20,000 turkeys
17,000 pigs
500 cattle
Up to 3 million total

Picture this: You’re cruising down the highway when you catch a glimpse of a truck in your rearview mirror. Your eyes focus on the white bits of feathers or maybe the pink skin visible through the openings in the side, and suddenly you’re no longer in a good mood.

We’ve all seen those transport trucks whiz by us with little regard for the safety of the animals jostled about inside, often struggling to stay on their feet on the slippery floors. It’s horrible enough that these animals are headed for the slaughterhouse, but many people don’t realize that millions of animals each year die when they are trampled or succumb to untreated illnesses before they even reach that awful destination.

Number of animals declared unfit for human consumption after arriving diseased or injured at Canadian slaughterhouses:
8 million broiler chickens
3 million egg-layers, breeders
200,000 turkeys
80,000 pigs
8,000 cattle
More than 11 million total

The Vancouver Sun deserves a hundred thousand well-deserved props for running an excellent front-page article about animal transport fatalities. According to the article, “up to three million farm animals are found dead each year” inside transport trucks when they arrive at Canadian slaughterhouses. And there’s more: “more than 11 million farm animals are declared unfit for human consumption after arriving diseased or injured ….” And that’s just in Canada—the issue is just as serious in the U.S. These animals are just more senseless victims of animal agriculture, but to the industry, their purposeless deaths are simply another cost of doing business.

The numbers are heartbreaking, but they’re no surprise when you factor in the abuse these animals face: Workers routinely poke pigs with electric prods and beat them—sometimes on the snout with baseball bats, breaking their noses. Birds are often thrown into the holding space, resulting in broken bones and wings. Animals are piled on top of each other with no room to turn around, and no food or water is given to them during transport. The sheer number of animals crammed into the cargo containers can cause some to suffocate, especially in the heat. During the summer months, temperatures inside the metal fixtures are sweltering, and during the winter months, the animals have almost no protection from the wind, ice, and snow. Many pigs actually freeze to the sides of the trucks in winter.

Truck drivers can be reckless and absentminded, putting both the animals and humans in danger. Transport truck accidents like this one are common. If an animal is lucky, he or she might escape injury and be able to flee and avoid the slaughterhouse forever, but most are not so fortunate. These accidents are horrifying for animals who are injured—often they are simply reloaded onto another truck to continue the journey to the slaughterhouse.

Written by Jennifer Cierlitsky

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  • Saucy says:

    Thats a crime! A crime against GOD and NATURE. It is with deep despair and profound sadness that I picture this. These images haunt my life day and night. I love animals and will do all I can to help them. I respect and fear only God the CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE and all of it’s inhabitants. I am eternally grateful to this organization and others and the journalist who wrote that article about pigs in gestation crates that set me on the path to veganism. God Bless you All. I look forward to working with all of you in the coming months and years and our lovely animal friends as well. Very truly yours Your friend

  • Kelsey says:

    This seriously makes me sick that we can call ourselves human.

  • Jan says:

    2008 was a banner year for passing legislation. We need to continue if what you see upsets you be cause of its cruelty it needs to change.

  • vegancoin says:

    That is so inhumane and cruel this is truly heartbreaking. The only solution is to go veg.

  • Keith says:

    ” Aneliese my thoughts and sentiments exactly.” Though over the years you cannot imagine the scathing attacks I have become immune from. ” Thank you.”

  • cilantro says:

    its not enough to condemn this hideous torure of our fellow beings we should all stop eating meat and stop using all the byproducts of animal killing. let everyone know about the diseases caused by eating this stuff. how could it continue if no one wanted the “products”?

  • roxanne says:

    so sad i wish more people were vegans and vegetarians. it is good for us and for our fourlegged friends

  • Vegan4animals says:

    Humans are sick that they can be part of this. Thank gness I’m vegan. I don’t have to live each day knowing what a meat eating ahole I am for causing such cruelty such disrespect for life. Maybe those who take part in this horrific cruelty by eating them will come back as these tortured animals in the next life. The karmic cycle will go on until the humans learn compassion. They won’t learn compassion until they stop eatingkilling them for their selfish indulgences. We all know they could easily eat vegan and be much healthier. Yet they CHOOSE animal cruelty! How sick.

  • SASHA says:

    Laws should be pass to stop the overloading of these poor animals.I have been an eyewitness to this and could hear the screams from the cows all stuffed in together. Freezing weather and slowly going to their deaths.I saw a cow looking at me and I felt this overwhelming connection with him and could see the pain in his eyesand felt his suffering.I BECAME A VEGAN.If that cow only knew HE HELP SAVE MY LIFE!

  • Tricia says:

    I live less than a mile from Hatfield Meats slaughterhouse. EVERY single time I leave my house I see two or three truckloads of pigs going to their final destination. In the FREEZING COLD or the POURING RAIN those animals are trucked very long distancesif that sort of inhumane treatment is what the meat production companies allow the American public to see imagine how bad it is when they DONT let you see ie behind slaughterhouse walls. Thanks unfortunately to the PETA undercover investigators.we actually know and can help people go veg and stop funding these companies that make a living by KILLING. Seeing the trucks used to sadden me and make me madbut now even though Im sad that its going on I feel relieved for those particular animals that their hellish journey will be over soon and theyll be out of this horrible world.

  • Jessica says:

    I have actually been unfortunate enough to see the aftermath of a transport truck that was losing animals going down the highway. On a small stretch of highway my husband and I were driving from one town to the next and we counted about 56 dead chickens either in the road or laying on the shoulder of the highway just discarded and left there. It was disgusting!

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    There’s nothing more sad then seeing a truck loaded with animals on its way to the slaughterhouse. I’ve seen the trailers parked at a few Toronto slaughterhouses waiting to be unloaded. You can hear the cows shuffling around inside and the occasional moo. Some try to stick their snouts through the slats to see what’s going on. Little do the poor innocents know they’ll be dead within the hour. Go veg!

  • Aneliese says:

    Once again I’m ashamed to be Canadian and could care less about humans since they treat animals so inhumanely.

  • Vince says:

    This breaks my heart makes me so angry. There’s a special place in hell for people who treat animals like this!

  • Carla says:

    11 million UNfit??? Who says or gives the final word?? I thought GREED would be their final say cause if it isn’t “they” would have a plan in action to make ALL those living breathing feeling beings feel abit better so that number could be drastically reduced!!! Opps I forgot they have no souls!! Ever wondered what one looked like… just take a look at the transport trucks’ driver!! Scary!! Go VEG and truly make those animals smile!!!

  • Canada says:

    You sometimes hear people up here saying things like “Oh factory farming is pretty awful but it’s not like in the Statesthat’s where all the really terrible stuff happens.” Time to wake up Canada.

  • Isabelle says:

    I can never watch when one of those trucks passes by me. Those transports are inhuman. We wouldn’t travel in those circumstances so why do people think it’s good enough for animals?

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