Toronto Pig Save aims to put glass walls on slaughterhouses in Toronto and beyond. There are two cow slaughterhouses in Toronto – St. Helen’s and Ryder Regency Meat Packers, both on Glen Scarlett Road – and one chicken slaughterhouse, Maple Leaf Poultry at 100 Ethel Street.
Quality Meat Packers, which killed approximately 6,000 young pigs per day, closed in April 2014, after going bankrupt.
The following photos were taken on September 11, 2014 during the public auction of Quality Meat Packers’ assets, and includes several pictures of the carbon dioxide (CO2) gas chamber used to “stun” the pigs before they are hung upside down on one leg and bled with “hollow knives” and sent to the scalding tank to remove their hair.
Photos of Quality Meat Packers: Pete Dako
Though the pigs are supposed to be unconscious at the bleeding and scalding tank steps, this is not always the case, thus some of them may be going through this horrific process fully conscious. The gas chamber itself is neither humane, nor quick. Animals Australia has undercover footage taken inside the biggest pig abattoir in Australia, showing the pigs screaming and trashing as they gasp for air.
Bearing witness is the beginning of awareness. You see realities by being present. The distressed animals are here and now right before your eyes. You refuse to turn a blind eye! You look, you come closer, and you try to help the individuals before you.
Toronto Pig Save, Cow Save and Chicken Save holds weekly vigils. We bear witness to the suffering of animals in transport and at slaughterhouses. You can immediately discern confusion, fear, and pain in their captivating eyes and in the scratches and gashes on the bodies of these gentle souls from rough handling. During transport in summer’s extreme heat and humidity, pigs gasp for air, make horrid vocalizations, and foam at the mouth. Some die of heat stroke and heart attacks. During winter’s dreadful cold and added wind chill on the highway, pigs huddle for warmth and comfort. Many develop frostbite and hypothermia, and some – incredibly – freeze to the side of the trucks.
Looking at the pigs, cows and chickens, touching their snouts or noses as they push through the air holes to nudge and sniff our hands, hearing them vocalize to communicate with us and each other, strengthens our resolve to do all we can to help them.
To join our weekly vigils, please visit the calendar on our website for schedules and locations.
Pig Save has grown to an international Save Movement with 32 Save groups around the world. In Canada there is Toronto Cow Save, Toronto Chicken Save, Golden Horseshoe Farm Animal Save, Waterloo Wellington Animal Save, Windsor Pig Save, Brampton Chicken Save, London Chicken Save, Montreal Pig Save, Manitoba Pig Save, and Brandon Pig Save. In the U.S., these include NY Farm Animal Save, New Jersey Farm Animal Save, Pennsylvania Animal Save, Huron Turkey Save (South Dakota), Indiana Pig Save, North Carolina Farm Animal Save, Sonoma County Chicken Save, and Hudson Valley Duck Save. Australian Save groups include Melbourne Pig Save, Melbourne Chicken Save, Perth Farm Animal Save, and Sydney Pig Save. Sao Paolo Animal Save is in Brazil.