While driving home from college earlier this week, I saw a truck transporting pigs, most likely to slaughter. Through the holes in the truck I could see the pigs’ pink bodies. One pig stuck with me: he was lying on his side with his back pressed against the wall of truck, as if the exhaustion and fear had overcome him. On that day, the sun was shining, the skies were clear, and it was seasonably warm. But knowing that for every pig in that truck, these were their last moments on earth–their first and last chance to see the sun and sky–I could not help but feel tears coming to my eyes.
The suffering animals experience during transport to slaughter is arguably even worse than the slaughter itself. The animals are crammed into trucks with barely any room to move. Birds are roughly shoved or thrown into crates, their heads and wings often painfully slammed in the doors or even torn off in workers’ haste to unload them. These journeys may last for 28 hours or more, despite suffocating heat and bitter cold. Animals are forced to defecate where they stand and are not given a single drop of food or water. Many animals arrive at the slaughterhouse frozen solid, stuck to the cold metal sides of the truck, or dead due to heat exhaustion.
The number of animals who die before even making it to slaughter are astounding, and further demonstrate how disposable the meat industry views these animals. It is estimated that 17-41 million chickens and over 250,000 pigs die during transport in the United States. Though death is less common in cows (I assume due to their higher body mass allowing them to survive longer amounts of time without food and water), transport is considered to be the most stressful experience a cow ever goes through. It is not uncommon for cows to become “downers,” unable to stand or walk due to their bodies giving out, during transport.
No taste, tradition, or moment of pleasure can make the incredible fear and suffering these animals endure worthwhile. And with a plethora of fresh, delicious, and nutritious vegan foods available at every local grocery store, eating animals is simply unnecessary. To spare animals cruel transport to slaughter, please choose a compassionate vegan diet.