23July2019

Andaman Chronicle

The Daily Diary of the Islands

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The Slaughterhouses

Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

In every survey taken across the world, the worst jobs that emerge are sewage cleaners, and people that work in the factory farm and slaughterhouse industry which includes fish, poultry, piggeries, cattle and, of course, all the other species you can think of – from rabbits and dogs to goats and camels.

Millions of people work in slaughterhouses, dragging animals out, stringing them up, bleeding them, breaking their bones, slitting their throats, skinning live beings. These are the direct killers. But equally horrible work is, growing them in tight miserable conditions, giving them injections every day, cleaning out their food and faeces, loading them into overcrowded trucks and then pulling them out half dead already. A poultry worker kills roughly 35,000 chickens a year. These people work in dirty, smelly, blood filled, unsanitary conditions. Workers are usually trained for one specific part of the process. For example, some workers kill and bleed the animals, while others make a series of cuts to separate fat, muscle and bone, some skin them while still conscious, others boil them alive. Hour after hour, day after day, the workers interact with countless animals in various states of fear and pain. They work with the constant noise of dying animals protesting till the end. They return home full of the germs of dried blood. What could they dream about at night and what aims propel them? How many women would marry a slaughterhouse worker? What do their children say when they are asked "what does your daddy do?" Could this be the reason that all slaughter involved workers live together in tight, slovenly ghettos all over the world (with the highest crime percentages) – so that they meet only their own kind?

Slaughterhouse workers, which include fishermen who go out into the ocean and spend the day hunting and killing the animals of the ocean, have so many kinds of jobs – one more terrible than the last.

For instance, these are jobs that are so strange that one wonders how poor (or mentally disturbed) you have to be to do them :

Animal Masturbator: The sperm of animals is always in great demand, whether by researchers or famers, who want artificial insemination. The only way to obtain the sperm is to masturbate the animal and catch the semen in a pot. Whether it is a pig, ram, horse or bull, people have to physically excite the animals. When dealing with a bull, there have been cases were people have been seriously injured during this procedure. There are other options: They can ram an electric probe up an animal's rectum, shove an artificial vagina onto the animal's penis, or simply do it the old-fashioned way - manual stimulation using the hand. Electroejaculation generally requires anesthetizing the animal and is typically used on zoo dwellers. The AV - a large latex tube coated with warm lubricant - is used primarily to get sperm from dairy bulls. The bull gets randy with a cow; when he mounts the animal with his forelegs, a brave technician, AV in hand, insinuates himself between the two animals and redirects the bull's penis into the mock genitalia, which he must then hold tight while the bull orgasms. Three additional technicians anchor themselves to restraining ropes attached to a ring in the bull's nose. The same thing applies to pigs and goats.

An artificial insemination technician, also known as Diary Cow Midwife, inserts semen deeply into female bovine vaginas to get them pregnant.

Chicken Sexer: This gentleman stands at an assembly line and picks up fluffy, hour old, chicks, turns them upside down and squeezes their faeces out from their anuses so that he can put a finger inside in order to determine their sex. Tiny bumps indicate a male, while a flat surface is female. The males are killed. This job requires a gentle hand (so as to not damage the female chicks), a good eye (to recognize whether they have a penis or not) and the ability to forget that your whole working life is going to be spent looking at baby chicken’s sex organs.

Animal Shearers : These worthies pin the rabbit down flat on a surface and then shear the hair off, often breaking the bones and making a million body cuts in the process, while listening to it scream. The same applies to sheep shearers – considered the worst  job in Australia, next to Sheep Daggers, whose entire workshop consists of bending over sheep and removing soiled wool from their backsides – a process extremely painful for the animal and backbreaking for the human.

Goose/Duck Stuffers : To make pate foie gras, the diseased duck liver so beloved of rich people, the bird has to have an aluminium or plastic tube put into its food pipe. Workers stuff corn mesh down the tubes the entire day and make sure that the retching birds keep it down. If the mesh gets stuck they have to put their fingers into the tube to make sure it is pushed down into the stomach. This goes on until the liver is as large as the bird and it can be killed.

Pig Hair Remover : The hair is pulled out from hogs while alive. Three people hold the squealing animal down and the fourth pulls out bunches of hair, which are sent to be made into brushes – after the blood is washed off.

Pig Stabber : There is a belief that pigs should be stabbed many times before being killed so that the pork is more edible. People are hired in piggeries to take short knives and stab pigs repeatedly before killing them. A former kill floor manager gave the following account: "The worst thing, worse than the physical danger, is the emotional toll. . . . Pigs down on the kill floor have come up and nuzzled me like a puppy. Two minutes later I had to kill them - beat them to death with a pipe. I can’t care."

Animal Renderer :  Workers who bring the entrails, bones and blood from butchers and slaughterhouses, clean and strip them, boil and sort them, so that these animals can be turned into soap, fertilizer, candles, pharmaceuticals and toiletries (previously, tooth brush handles and teething rings as well.) De-animalising that leads to de-humanising.

You just have one short life. Are you sure you want to spend it killing other species? The pursuit of money cannot justify this, because these are the lowest paid with the poorest working conditions in the world. In India it has become a family profession and often parents start their children off at the age of four so that they know nothing else.  Each slaughterhouse worker suffers from diseases ranging from tuberculosis, asthma and bronchitis, eye, nose and throat irritation, traumatic injuries, noise-induced hearing loss. Most facilities operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – killing and processing hundreds or thousands of animals each hour. As one worker stated: The line is so fast there is no time to sharpen the knife. The knife gets dull and you have to cut harder. That’s when it really starts to hurt, and that’s when you cut yourself. Workers suffer chronic pains in their hands, wrists, arms, shoulders and back. The industry has consistently operated with one of the highest injury rates in the country.

Fishermen experience one of the highest rates of fatalities among all classes of workers. They must stay at sea for extended periods, and withstand adverse weather and sea conditions, catch, extract and store fish, load and unload. Depleted supplies of fish in many waters add an element of uncertainty regarding the success of expeditions.

How sad that humans should want to do jobs like this. These jobs are killing not just animals but destroying the rest of the world through polluting the land and water and bringing about climate change so that all of us are unsafe. Instead of trying to increase our meat exports, the government should be looking at retraining slaughter workers and letting them get jobs that keep their self respect and bring more money.

And you can help them by becoming vegetarian. 

To join the animal welfare movement contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , www.peopleforanimalsindia.org

  • Written by Denis Giles
  • Hits: 513

The Slaughterhouses

Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

In every survey taken across the world, the worst jobs that emerge are sewage cleaners, and people that work in the factory farm and slaughterhouse industry which includes fish, poultry, piggeries, cattle and, of course, all the other species you can think of – from rabbits and dogs to goats and camels.

Millions of people work in slaughterhouses, dragging animals out, stringing them up, bleeding them, breaking their bones, slitting their throats, skinning live beings. These are the direct killers. But equally horrible work is, growing them in tight miserable conditions, giving them injections every day, cleaning out their food and faeces, loading them into overcrowded trucks and then pulling them out half dead already. A poultry worker kills roughly 35,000 chickens a year. These people work in dirty, smelly, blood filled, unsanitary conditions. Workers are usually trained for one specific part of the process. For example, some workers kill and bleed the animals, while others make a series of cuts to separate fat, muscle and bone, some skin them while still conscious, others boil them alive. Hour after hour, day after day, the workers interact with countless animals in various states of fear and pain. They work with the constant noise of dying animals protesting till the end. They return home full of the germs of dried blood. What could they dream about at night and what aims propel them? How many women would marry a slaughterhouse worker? What do their children say when they are asked "what does your daddy do?" Could this be the reason that all slaughter involved workers live together in tight, slovenly ghettos all over the world (with the highest crime percentages) – so that they meet only their own kind?

Slaughterhouse workers, which include fishermen who go out into the ocean and spend the day hunting and killing the animals of the ocean, have so many kinds of jobs – one more terrible than the last.

For instance, these are jobs that are so strange that one wonders how poor (or mentally disturbed) you have to be to do them :

Animal Masturbator: The sperm of animals is always in great demand, whether by researchers or famers, who want artificial insemination. The only way to obtain the sperm is to masturbate the animal and catch the semen in a pot. Whether it is a pig, ram, horse or bull, people have to physically excite the animals. When dealing with a bull, there have been cases were people have been seriously injured during this procedure. There are other options: They can ram an electric probe up an animal's rectum, shove an artificial vagina onto the animal's penis, or simply do it the old-fashioned way - manual stimulation using the hand. Electroejaculation generally requires anesthetizing the animal and is typically used on zoo dwellers. The AV - a large latex tube coated with warm lubricant - is used primarily to get sperm from dairy bulls. The bull gets randy with a cow; when he mounts the animal with his forelegs, a brave technician, AV in hand, insinuates himself between the two animals and redirects the bull's penis into the mock genitalia, which he must then hold tight while the bull orgasms. Three additional technicians anchor themselves to restraining ropes attached to a ring in the bull's nose. The same thing applies to pigs and goats.

An artificial insemination technician, also known as Diary Cow Midwife, inserts semen deeply into female bovine vaginas to get them pregnant.

Chicken Sexer: This gentleman stands at an assembly line and picks up fluffy, hour old, chicks, turns them upside down and squeezes their faeces out from their anuses so that he can put a finger inside in order to determine their sex. Tiny bumps indicate a male, while a flat surface is female. The males are killed. This job requires a gentle hand (so as to not damage the female chicks), a good eye (to recognize whether they have a penis or not) and the ability to forget that your whole working life is going to be spent looking at baby chicken’s sex organs.

Animal Shearers : These worthies pin the rabbit down flat on a surface and then shear the hair off, often breaking the bones and making a million body cuts in the process, while listening to it scream. The same applies to sheep shearers – considered the worst  job in Australia, next to Sheep Daggers, whose entire workshop consists of bending over sheep and removing soiled wool from their backsides – a process extremely painful for the animal and backbreaking for the human.

Goose/Duck Stuffers : To make pate foie gras, the diseased duck liver so beloved of rich people, the bird has to have an aluminium or plastic tube put into its food pipe. Workers stuff corn mesh down the tubes the entire day and make sure that the retching birds keep it down. If the mesh gets stuck they have to put their fingers into the tube to make sure it is pushed down into the stomach. This goes on until the liver is as large as the bird and it can be killed.

Pig Hair Remover : The hair is pulled out from hogs while alive. Three people hold the squealing animal down and the fourth pulls out bunches of hair, which are sent to be made into brushes – after the blood is washed off.

Pig Stabber : There is a belief that pigs should be stabbed many times before being killed so that the pork is more edible. People are hired in piggeries to take short knives and stab pigs repeatedly before killing them. A former kill floor manager gave the following account: "The worst thing, worse than the physical danger, is the emotional toll. . . . Pigs down on the kill floor have come up and nuzzled me like a puppy. Two minutes later I had to kill them - beat them to death with a pipe. I can’t care."

Animal Renderer :  Workers who bring the entrails, bones and blood from butchers and slaughterhouses, clean and strip them, boil and sort them, so that these animals can be turned into soap, fertilizer, candles, pharmaceuticals and toiletries (previously, tooth brush handles and teething rings as well.) De-animalising that leads to de-humanising.

You just have one short life. Are you sure you want to spend it killing other species? The pursuit of money cannot justify this, because these are the lowest paid with the poorest working conditions in the world. In India it has become a family profession and often parents start their children off at the age of four so that they know nothing else.  Each slaughterhouse worker suffers from diseases ranging from tuberculosis, asthma and bronchitis, eye, nose and throat irritation, traumatic injuries, noise-induced hearing loss. Most facilities operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – killing and processing hundreds or thousands of animals each hour. As one worker stated: The line is so fast there is no time to sharpen the knife. The knife gets dull and you have to cut harder. That’s when it really starts to hurt, and that’s when you cut yourself. Workers suffer chronic pains in their hands, wrists, arms, shoulders and back. The industry has consistently operated with one of the highest injury rates in the country.

Fishermen experience one of the highest rates of fatalities among all classes of workers. They must stay at sea for extended periods, and withstand adverse weather and sea conditions, catch, extract and store fish, load and unload. Depleted supplies of fish in many waters add an element of uncertainty regarding the success of expeditions.

How sad that humans should want to do jobs like this. These jobs are killing not just animals but destroying the rest of the world through polluting the land and water and bringing about climate change so that all of us are unsafe. Instead of trying to increase our meat exports, the government should be looking at retraining slaughter workers and letting them get jobs that keep their self respect and bring more money.

And you can help them by becoming vegetarian. 

To join the animal welfare movement contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , www.peopleforanimalsindia.org

  • Written by Denis Giles
  • Hits: 107

It’s time for Ethical Wool to Become a Reality

By Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

Many people think that the wool industry is made of sheep gamboling in pastures. That no animal are abused or killed. That placid sheep stand in line quietly and men with large electric scissors shear their hair off.

Not true.

Before you buy wool see the PETA video, released in 2017, of the treatment of sheep in the shearing sheds of the main wool farms across Australia. The undercover video showed workers violently punching frightened sheep in the face, stomping and standing on their heads and necks, slamming their heads on the floor, beating and jabbing them in the head with electric clippers. The violent shearing process left large, bloody cuts on their bodies and workers stitched up gaping wounds with a needle and thread without any anesthesia. Says one photographer "The shearing shed must be one of the worst places in the world for cruelty to animals … I have seen shearers punch sheep with their shears or their fists until the sheep's nose bled. I have seen sheep with half their faces shorn off …"

Three years before this, in 2014, Peta exposed similar abuse in the top wool exporting farms. Many owners and workers were arrested and given cruelty convictions. The industry vowed to reform. The secretary of the Shearing Contractors’ Association of Australia said that the 2014 footage had been a “wake-up call” to the industry and vowed to implement a zero-tolerance policy on cruelty to animals

After a few weeks it was business as usual and the cruelty was resumed.

Shearers are the bottom of human evolution - illiterate, impatient, insensitive farm labour, who are paid per sheep. It doesn’t matter whether they cause the frightened animals distress and injury, they simply want the numbers done and their wages.

Is this the only country where such terrible things are done by shearers? Similar exposés have been done in Argentina, Chile and the United States, and they show the same brutality.

If the wool farms are not going to stop this, it is upto us, the consumes, to do it. Go wool free (God, thank you for acrylic !). You could write to wool retailers across the world to demand better conditions. You could start a shaming process through social media.

But, let us look at another way which has worked beautifully in another sector – and which I am very proud of.

Twenty years ago carpet importers, from Europe and America, were under pressure to stop doing business with India because we had been accused of using little children to make them. I was not in government. We made a group called Rugmark, moved into Varanasi and Bhadohi, and went from carpet maker to carpet maker and removed the children. We sent some back to their parents in Bihar where they had been kidnapped from, we put others in orphanages and schools which we established. By the time the exercise was over, children were out of the production system. Carpet exporters signed a pledge, which holds good till today, that they would never use them again. They were then allowed to buy labels from us called Rugmark, and Germany took the lead in promoting the label, which meant Childfree. Soon Pakistan and Nepal followed suit with the same label. The label was paid for by the foreign importers – Rs1 per label at the time and it went to the upkeep of children and their schooling. Rugmark solved an ethical problem and the industry was a willing co-operator.

We need to solve this problem with a similar label. Australia and New Zealand are the largest exporters of wool. Australia alone accounts for one fifth of global wool production. India is one of the top importers of wool from Australia. 60% is imported by China (and they couldn't care less about cruelty). They buy the worst wool. Then comes Italy with 20%. They buy for high fashion designers like Armani. We are the third largest with 15%-18%, and growing at 17% every year. In 2018 Australia exported 152 million dollars worth (41.47 million kg) to India. We import carpet wool, greasy wool, scoured wool, clipped wool, tannery wool, lamb's wool, merino wool and wool waste

We use this wool to make carpets, handloom fabrics, yarn, hosiery and knitwear - cardigans, pullovers, socks, gloves, mufflers and suit material. Carpet manufacturers blend domestic with New Zealand wool. We export the finished products. In 2014 our raw wool imports were 96.13 million kg, 8% higher than the previous year. In 2014 we imported 356 million dollars worth and exported 1.05 billion dollars. In 2019 it is 1.14 billion. Every year we export more because knitwear has a huge market, and our clients range from South Korea, UAE and Japan and, of course, Europe and the United States. Most of the main wool companies are in Ludhiana. From 2014 we have become the highest importers of wool from the United States, with 1.16 million kg.

We are big enough to influence the way sheep are kept, and treated, all over the world.

India’s wool industrialists need to develop a label that says Ethical Wool. Consumers now object to buying things which are not made by paying ethical fair wages, millions have gone vegan or organic, most designers have given up fur. Why not apply this new morality, and distaste for wickedness, to wool ?

Companies like Patagonia have already stopped using wool from the general market, and source it from wool farms that have ethical practices.

Our companies should refuse to buy wool from farms that have cruel shearing practices. There is a hideous practice called mulesing. Sheep are grown to get more and more wool on their bodies - some cannot even walk any more. Because sheep hair is oily, and the area round the anus is warm, and full of faeces and urine, sometimes blowfly lay their eggs on the skin, and the larvae feed on the sheep’s tissue. This, of course, makes the sheep sick and the quality of hair goes down. So, what the industry does is even worse. They cut the skin from the buttocks without anaesthesia. What would you do if some sick individual tried to cut large chunks of skin and flesh from around your anus? Flystrike, as the problem is called, can easily be avoided with better management and the use of skin insecticides. But Australian wool farmers employ very few labourers in order to keep costs down, so sheep are generally neglected. The industry defends mulesing by saying while it hurts the sheep, it saves them from being eaten by flies. This is not true. Flystrike only afflicts farmed, not wild, sheep and this is because the skin keeps getting increased so that more wool can grow on one body. The increased heat and folds are attractive for blowflies. It also creates very unhappy animals assaulted by handlers and shearers. And with each breeding generation, the industry favours sheep with the densest skin folds, thus ensuring that each successive generation will be even more vulnerable to flystrike.

When the world threatened to boycott mulesed wool, Australia vowed in 2004 that they would ban it by 2010.  It is 2019 and they have still not done it. Many clothing companies have pledged not to use wool from sheep that have undergone this procedure.

There are many other horrible things that happen to sheep. For instance, Sharlea sheep have been mutated to produce a certain kind of wool. However, the same genetic mutation has also made them blind and unable to walk. Millions of sheep perish every year on large wool farms due to disease and individual neglect that occurs when animals, meant to roam freely, are squeezed together. Adequate health, and veterinary care for ailments, is non-existent. And, at the end of their "productive" lives, they're shipped to slaughter to the Middle East in overcrowded ships. 

If we confined our label to anti-mulesing and anti-bad shearing, castration, tail-docking, and ear-punching, we would go a long way. If our Indian wool industry would hire one animal welfare organisation in Australia to check randomly, and then give ethical wool labels, it could change the world. When India banned Pate foie gras in 2014, so did dozens of countries in Europe. When we started Rugmark and cleaned up child labour, it had an impact on so many industries who used child labour. It is time for Ethical Wool to become a reality. 

To join the animal welfare movement contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , www. peopleforanimalsindia. org

  • Written by Denis Giles
  • Hits: 500