Ban gas chambers

We hid inside one of the pork industry’s gas chambers with a camera.
Now you can watch what they label as 'humane'.

New footage, aired exclusively on ABC's 7.30, reveals the agonising final moments of pigs inside Victoria's three largest slaughterhouses.

The Campaign So Far

  • March 27th 2023:  Launched our campaign with an exclusive report on ABC’s 7.30. Animal Justice Party MP Georgie Purcell calls for a ban on gas chambers in Victoria and a state inquiry into pig welfare.
  • April 1st - April 7th 2023: Organised a ‘week of action’ where we put pressure on the Australian pork industry, government and facilities to stop gassing pigs for pork.
  • April 7th 2023: Organised Melbourne’s ‘Dominion Animal Rights March,’ bringing together hundreds of animal rights activists to take over Melbourne CBD and demand kindness and respect for all animals.
  • April 13th 2023: 25 activists shut down Benalla slaughterhouse for over 10 hours to demand a ban on gas chambers.
  • April 26th 2023: WIN - Australian Food Group Slaughterhouse shuts down as a result of our footage
  • May 2023: The Victorian Greens come out in support of a ban on gas chambers
  • May 2023: Animal Justice Party MP Emma Hurst introduces state legislation to ban gas chambers in NSW
  • May 16th & April 17th 2023: Actions at the Department of Agriculture and Australian Pork Limited lead to a meeting being arranged with two senior staff members at the Federal Department
  • May 25th 2023: WIN - Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into Pig Welfare announced
  • Dec 1st 2023: Public submissions open for the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into Pig Welfare; Animals Australia files lawsuit in the Supreme Court against Benalla slaughterhouse and the Victorian meat industry regulator, Primesafe


Stop Gassing Pigs for Pork

All major pig slaughterhouses in Australia now use carbon dioxide gas chambers as a means of rendering pigs unconscious before cutting their throats. Referred to by the industry as "controlled atmosphere stunning" or "controlled atmosphere killing", the process involves forcing pigs into gondola cages which are then lowered into the pit of the chamber, where high concentrations of the excruciating toxic gas cause them to suffocate.

When we first exposed the use of these chambers at Australia's largest pig slaughterhouse back in 2014, it was the first time in the world that the supposedly "humane" system had been captured on camera. Consumers were being told that the pigs just gently fall asleep - but the footage revealed something very different. In the 9 years since, despite the emergence of even more footage and the obvious extreme cruelty, it's managed to remain the pork industry's best-kept secret.

We knew we needed to take drastic measures to force the issue into mainstream attention and prevent it being swept under the rug once more. So this time, we hid an investigator inside the top of one of these chambers overnight with a professional camera, to capture the brutality like never before.

On January 27, 2023, Farm Transparency Project's founding director, Chris Delforce, spent over 9 hours hidden above the gas chamber at the Australian Food Group (AFG) slaughterhouse in Melbourne's west, witnessing first-hand the absolute horror faced by millions of pigs every year in Australia. After the day's killing had finished and the staff went on break, investigators Harley and Cat guided Chris with an aerial drone as he climbed out of the chamber and snuck out of the facility wearing high-vis clothing.

Investigator filming from above the gas chamber

Meanwhile, the team planted high-resolution hidden cameras inside the chambers at Victoria's two other largest slaughterhouses - Diamond Valley Pork, just down the road from AFG in Laverton, and Benalla in the state's north. Diamond Valley Pork kills up to 1 million pigs per year, around 20% of the national total, having upgraded a few years earlier to an enormous "Butina Backloader" chamber capable of fitting up to three times as many pigs per gondola compared to the previous design.

When returning to retrieve the hidden cameras at Benalla, the gondolas had rotated to lower positions in the chamber, requiring our team to climb down into the gas. Immediately, we felt our eyes burning, and panic set in. Any breath we tried to take was like breathing in fire, and several times we had to frantically climb back out, shaking and gasping for air.

“I have seen animals killed right in front of my eyes. I have seen workers kicking piglets around like footballs and animals screaming in pain, pleading with their eyes for help. I have had to walk away from so many suffering animals, knowing that the best thing I can do for them and all the others I couldn’t save was to keep trying to tell their story... but this is the most horrible thing I have ever seen.” - Chris Delforce

Our footage shows that, despite what the pork industry tells consumers, pigs suffer and die in agony inside these gas chambers. We saw pigs writhing and gasping for air, screaming in fear and pain, frantically looking around for a way out of the cage. At AFG, many pigs locked eyes with Chris as he sat hidden just metres above them, and he had to watch as they slowly suffocated, knowing that the best way he could help them was to get out safely and make sure their stories reached as many people as possible.

Workers are seen using paddles, prodders and even boots to force pigs into the chamber, sometimes over the bodies of other pigs who had become stuck as they thrashed around desperately. Over a few harrowing minutes, pigs go from being curious, scared, thinking, feeling individuals with a desire to live, to being nothing more than a body, a number, a price tag. 

These are not isolated incidents, these are not "rogue operators". The breeding, confinement and slaughter of innocent, sentient individuals is inherently cruel and violent. It can never be humane. If these were dogs or cats, it would be illegal - but pigs and other farmed animals are exempt from protection in Victoria and other states' animal welfare laws.

It's time for that to change.

You can learn more about the reality of Australian pig farming via our online knowledgebase.

Take Action

Public submissions have now closed for the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into pig welfare - thank you to everyone who made a submission calling for a kinder world for pigs!

The inquiry was initiated earlier this year after our groundbreaking exposé, aired on ABC’s 7.30, showed pigs screaming, thrashing and gasping for air inside carbon dioxide gas chambers, which are used to suffocate over 90% of Australian pigs before their throats are slit. Chaired by Animal Justice Party MP Georgie Purcell, the inquiry will investigate commercial pig confinement, including the continued use of sow stalls and farrowing crates, and slaughter in Victoria, and prepare a report suggesting improvements to the government.

Keep up-to-date with this campaign via our Facebook or Instagram pages. 

The most important action you can take for pigs is to leave them off your plate, as our investigations have shown that there is no way to "humanely" kill them or any other animals for food. Check out VegKit or VeganEasy if you need tips or recipes!

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