Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


“Euthanasia” as euphemism

September 25, 2012 http://theseglasswalls.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/euthanasia-as-euphemism/

Last month, a former employee of a pig farm near Austin in southern Manitoba blew the whistle and called the province’s chief veterinary officer to report mistreatment of the animals.

When Dr. Wayne Lees went to investigate, he found 1300 piglets in “severe distress.” Not yet weaned, the piglets were starving and their mothers were nowhere in sight. Lees ordered all the piglets to be humanely euthanized. But that’s not what happened.

Tony Heppner was working as a barn manager at the farm at the time and was told by officials that the piglets would be put down individually with a lethal injection to the heart, a method endorsed by the Winnipeg Humane Society.

Instead, all 1300 piglets were rounded up into a single pen and shot with a .22-calibre rifle — a process that took eight hours with some piglets reportedly having been shot as many as four or five times. The province says that shooting is an “appropriate” method of euthanization, but Bill McDonald, CEO of the Winnipeg Humane Society, stressed that such a method could only be considered humane if administered to one piglet at a time, in isolation from the others and with a single shot to the head.

Many of the piglets did not die quickly, and because they were all in one pen, hundreds of them witnessed for hours and hours on end other piglets getting shot and screaming in pain and terror.

Heppner was there when it happened and found it so upsetting that he couldn’t eat or sleep for days, and weeks later was still having nightmares.

Incredibly, Lees defended the actions of his officers saying he didn’t know how you could deliver individual lethal injections to 1300 animals, and added that a prototype is being developed to gas large numbers of animals to death — a statement that reminds me why many activists refer to factory farming as an animal holocaust. Gassing wasn’t a “humane” method of killing human beings and it’s not a humane method of killing non-human animals. In fact, some slaughterhouses do use gas chambers and I’ve seen video of animals dying in them. Judging by their writhing and screaming, it is terrifying, painful, and frankly not that fast. They don’t just quietly pass out. They asphyxiate slowly, appear to be in significant pain and are clearly panic-stricken.

The farm in Manitoba is currently the subject of an animal cruelty investigation. If shooting 1300 unweaned piglets in a single pen over an eight-hour period is the chief veterinary officer’s idea of euthanasia — by definition a humane and painless death — he should be under investigation as well and removed from his post.

Comment: The cruelty to animals raised for food is unimaginable; all perfectly legal and standard practice. Government supports this industry with our tax dollars. Manitoba pork producers seek $130M bailout reads 09/17/12 headline from the Canadian Press.  A Manitoba farm group is calling for $130 million in government loan guarantees to help producers deal with what it calls the worst crisis in the history of Canada's pork industry.

Let them go broke! We all have the power to make ethical choices and it seems we are doing just that. People are reducing their consumption of animal products. We have a long way to go but we are driving change.

Read more: Undercover probe by MFA reveals Western Hog Exchange workers abusing pigs transported for slaughter, CFIA inspectors stand by, CVMA joins voices for legal reform

Farm Animals are Sentient Beings pdf