New undercover footage obtained by animal rights investigators in the UK shows a worker hitting pigs in the face and on their backs with a paddle as they put them into CO2 gas chambers to be killed by suffocation. The video was taken by animal rights activist Joey Carbstrong, the maker of Pignorant, at a slaughterhouse owned and run by Cranswick Country Foods in Watton, Norfolk, UK, supplying to major supermarkets such as Tesco, Morrisons, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Aldi, and Marks and Spencer. Many of the pigs executed at this abattoir were from farms rubberstamped by the RSPCA Assured scheme.

Carbstrong said to the Independent, “Our latest investigation exposes the callous treatment of supposedly ‘high welfare’ pigs destined for supermarkets. If facing the horrors of a CO2 gas chamber wasn’t bad enough, the workers add insult to injury by hitting the pigs. Unfortunately, this is inevitable in a system where animals are treated as commodities. Carbon dioxide is anything but a humane method of stunning and killing animals and causes severe pain and suffering. The public deserves to know what lies behind the facade of high-welfare labelling. Pigs are sensitive, curious, feeling beings; they deserve our respect.”

In 2003, the UK government’s welfare advisers recommended that carbon dioxide killing be banned, and in 2004 the European Food Safety Authority also concluded that it was cruel and called for it to be phased out. However, this practice continues in the UK, and in many other countries such as the US, Australia, and the rest of Europe. In fact, despite all this advice, the use of this gas to kill pigs has instead increased in the UK to 88% in 2022. A 2021 government review concluded: “There has been no willingness on the part of abattoirs to explore inert gas mixture stunning commercially because of extended dwell time and therefore reduced throughput.”

“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’.