On 2nd March 2024, vegan activists staged a protest in front of the headquarters of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) in Horsham, West Sussex, England, accusing the animal welfare charity of supporting the use of CO2 gas chambers to kill pigs.

With placards saying “RSPCA Is The Meat Industry” and “Pigs Are People”, the protest was led by vegan activist Joey Carbstrong, who directed a documentary exposing such chambers titled “Pignorant” in which he and the investigator Dan Sheppard managed to record footage of the pigs agonisingly dying inside a gas chamber of a slaughterhouse in Manchester, in the North of England. Joey Carbstrong said, “They know it is egregiously cruel, these chambers, they are complicit in animal torture. CO2 has been known for decades to be abhorrent, barbaric and cruel.”

RSPCA Assured is a programme used to certify products to suggest that a farm, abattoir, hatchery or haulier complied with the RSPCA’s animal welfare standards, and farms that kill pigs using CO2 gas chambers have been rubberstamped under this scheme. Carbstrong said the use of RSPCA Assured was “false advertising” and “misleads the public.”

An RSPCA spokesman said, “It is difficult to think about the killing of farmed animals, and it is critical that this process is as humane as possible. We share the concerns about using CO2 gas, and our welfare standards have requirements which reduces the negative experience for the animals involved. We agree more humane alternatives need to be developed as a matter of urgency and we urge the UK Government to follow the European Union’s lead to seek a phase-out by investing in research to find a more humane alternative as a top priority.”  It seems that the RSPCA is choosing to continue approving the farms that use this method of killing the charity itself says it should be phased out, which highlights the contradiction the protesters exposed. 

The Telegraph reported that a member of the public is believed to have punched one of the protestors and squirted water in her face.

“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’.