News & Media > Media Releases and Statements > Cruelty complaint lodged against Victorian turkey slaughterhouse

Cruelty complaint lodged against Victorian turkey slaughterhouse

Tue 23 Feb 2021, 12:46pm

Confronting hidden camera footage released by animal protection organisation Farm Transparency Project (formerly Aussie Farms) has revealed systemic improper stunning of turkeys before they are brutally decapitated in an abattoir in Numurkah, Victoria. The footage has been submitted in a formal complaint to Primesafe.

The majority of the turkeys who were dragged upside-down through an electrical stun bath were found to exhibit signs of consciousness afterwards, while others were seen lifting their heads and avoiding the stun bath entirely. Owing to their large wingspan, their wings often hit the electrified water first, giving them extremely painful electric shocks. A small number of turkeys were beheaded without any prior stunning in inverted cones, a practice that is arguably in breach of Victoria’s vaguely-worded animal welfare legislation.

The European Food Safety Authority condemns the use of shackling lines and water stun-baths due to the “very poor welfare” experienced by the birds.

Turkeys awaiting slaughter walk loosely amongst those being decapitated or shackled by their feet, before themselves being roughly grabbed and lifted by one leg, in contravention of the requirement to minimise stress.

The Victorian government is currently reviewing animal welfare laws with a view to replace the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act; legislation it acknowledges is extremely outdated and out of touch with society’s current values regarding the treatment of animals. The current Act largely exempts commercially farmed or slaughtered animals from protection against cruelty.

Quotes attributable to Farm Transparency Project’s Campaign Director, Alix Livingstone:

“This is just another clear example of how the current system is failing to protect animals from needless suffering and cruelty, and how once again it’s fallen to activists to expose. Self-regulation does not work – in an industry driven by profit, the animals will always lose. It is time that state governments, starting with Victoria, take some responsibility for the protection of some of the most vulnerable members of our society by amending the current, outdated laws to remove the unjustifiable exemption for farmed animals, and forming an Independent Office of Animal Protection – one which does not answer to the Department of Agriculture.”

“Here we have yet another abattoir blatantly breaking the law and we have no confidence the Department of Agriculture will take this complaint any more seriously than others we and other organisations have made in the past.”

View the footage:

< Return to latest media releases