Western Sydney Meat Worx

Activist goes undercover at a Sydney slaughterhouse

Farm Transparency Project (formerly Aussie Farms) and Animals Within have collaborated to release footage captured by a hidden body-worn camera at the Western Sydney Meat Worx (formerly Picton Meatworx / Wollondilly Abattoir), a multi-species slaughterhouse south of Sydney, amid efforts by the NSW and Federal Governments to severely increase penalties for activists who expose animal cruelty.   

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The footage includes: the use of excruciating carbon dioxide gas chambers on pigs, goats and sheep; repeated failure of captive bolt stunning, with one pig shot eight times while screaming in pain; twisting and breaking of cows’ tails to force them to walk into the knockbox; animals regularly witnessing those before them being killed and consequently trying to escape. It was recorded by a university student undertaking a placement at the facility as part of their animal science degree.

There are very minimal laws in place to protect animals in facilities like these, which is the complete opposite to what most consumers are led to believe; while there’s a general offence for animal cruelty in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (POCTA) NSW, farms and slaughterhouses are exempt from this if they follow basic codes of practice which effectively legalise cruelty that regular citizens wouldn’t be able to get away with.

The code of practice relating to slaughterhouses is only a model code, intended as non-enforceable guidelines for states and territories to develop their own legislation, but 18 years later none have done so. Even if a company was found to be engaging in cruelty not permitted under the codes of practice, the maximum penalty under POCTA is $27,500. Meanwhile, the NSW government has introduced fines of up to $220,000 for individuals who trespass onto farms or slaughterhouses to expose cruelty, and are now seeking to add jail terms of up to 3 years.

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In the Victorian Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (POCTAA) and equivalent legislation in other states, farmed animals are specifically exempt from protections afforded to other animals. We are calling on state governments to remove this exemption to ensure farmed animals can be legalled protected from cruelty. In their capacity to suffer, they are no different to the cats and dogs we share our homes with. They deserve to be protected in the same way.
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