The UK investigative animal rights organisation Surge Activism, and its founder Ed Winters, have produced a poignant 20-minute documentary titled “Nowhere to Run, What Life is Like When You Kill for a Living”, released on 1st November 2023 (World’s Vegan Day). It is about slaughterhouse workers, and it gives a very interesting inside of the human side of the abuse of the animal agriculture industry that it is often forgotten. Directed by Ryuji Chua, the documentary is about the confessions of three ex-slaughterhouse workers from three different countries (UK, Mexico, and New Zealand), Dough Maw, Susana Soto, and Carl Scott, explaining their experiences when they were working in abattoirs.

The documentary is composed of five chapters: “Entering the Industry”, “A Dangerous Workplace”, “Drugs, alcohol, and mental health”, “From the Animals’ Perspective”, and “A Lifelong Burden”, and through them, we can put ourselves in the shoes of these three people, who clearly regret having worked in those jobs, and who are still traumatised by them.

After leaving the animal killing business, they have regained empathy towards the animals, as can be seen in the way they describe the ordeal cows, sheeps and chickens must go through. One of them says, “I remember at least one or two occasions they had to shock the sheep three times before it went unconscious, and a lot of them regained consciousness just prior to having their throats cut. So, then this poor sheep would be grabbed by the wool, taken back out into the yards, and had to go through the process again.” 

They clearly express regret for what they did to the animals, and it’s difficult not to feel for them as you realise that unfortunate circumstances put them in those situations. One of them says, “I wish I’d never done it. I wish I’d been bought up vegan. I feel a lot of regrets and a lot of guilt, and I tell myself, and it is true, I think I was not a bad person, I was just ignorant, I thought humans needed meat to be healthy, and I thought it was a necessary evil. Now that I know it’s not, it’s not necessary, I just wish I hadn’t done that.”

You can watch the documentary below:

WARNING: some images and descriptions may be too graphic for some viewers

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.