Millions of animals destroyed as slaughterhouses close

Yvonne O'Halloran

Once again innocent animals have to suffer. Due to the coronavirus and recent outbreaks of the virus in humans that work at abattoirs, many are forced to close down. As plants shut down, the fate of the millions of animals who had been scheduled for slaughter must be considered. Perhaps even billions will be killed and discarded, their deaths being another tragedy of this pandemic.

Approved methods to kill chickens include a slow and painful suffocation by covering them with a foam. Foaming essentially means covering hens with a layer of foam that blocks their airways, gradually suffocating them over several minutes. Ventilation shutdown, meanwhile, although described by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) as “not preferred, is one of the most barbaric, but cheapest options. Shutting down broiler chicken house ventilation systems means animals die of organ failure due to overheating, as temperatures quickly rise.

Why can’t chickens live weeks or even months more on the farm? Because they aren’t bred to. Sadly, they are selectively bred to grow so fast that they reach slaughter weight in just 47 days. In factory farms, it’s not uncommon to find chickens who can no longer walk, having collapsed under their own weight. Das the days pass, their organs and muscles break down. Pregnant mother pigs are being chemically induced to have abortions so that they won’t have more piglets to house.

At least two million animals have already reportedly culled on farms in the US alone, and that number is expected to rise.

Market research firm MarketsandMarkets  predicts that the forthcoming meat shortage will lead to the growth of the plant-based meat industry from $3.6 billion in 2020 to $4.2 billion by 2021, driven by consumers’ fears of future animal-borne illnesses.

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