Greens call out inhumane pig gassing

Following extraordinary footage aired on ABC 7.30, Abigail has spoken in Parliament about the cruelty of pig abattoirs and routine carbon dioxide stunning practices.


(1) That this House notes that the ABC 7.30 reports on 27 March and 26 April 2023 aired footage of pigs being stunned by carbon dioxide before slaughter in an Australian pig abattoir, and further notes:

  1. the footage shows that as pigs are exposed to carbon dioxide they thrash, gasp, squeal, froth at the mouth and attempt to escape before succumbing to the gas, 
  2. research funded by industry peak body Australian Pork Limited has shown that this footage is consistent with responses of pigs to carbon dioxide,
  3. Australian Pork Limited CEO Margo Andrae told a federal parliamentary committee in March 2023 that “[the pigs] literally go to sleep. It's not a hands-on process … over a very micro amount of time they go to sleep,”
  4. this practice is legal and widespread, and eighty-five per cent of Australian pigs are stunned for slaughter using carbon dioxide, 
  5. Animal Welfare Science Centre animal welfare expert Dr Ellen Jongman, who has conducted industry-funded research into pig reactions to carbon dioxide, has stated that ‘what we saw on the footage is not really acceptable’, 
  6. the first footage of carbon dioxide stunning of pigs in an abattoir, which was captured in NSW and showed similar reactions to carbon dioxide exposure, was publicly released in 2014, and was met with calls from RSPCA Australia for the industry to invest in research and development to allow carbon dioxide to be phased out and replaced with a humane alternative, and
  7. Australian Pork Limited has received more than $50 million in government funding over the past ten years to invest in research and development initiatives, none of which has been invested in finding alternatives to stunning of pigs.

(2) That this House further notes that:

  1. footage captured at the same Victorian abattoir shows alleged animal cruelty, and breaches of the Australian standard for the hygienic production and transportation of meat products, including pigs’ legs and feet getting stuck in machinery and testicles being torn off by machinery,
  2. another Victorian abattoir is alleged to force pigs to walk over unconscious or dead animals as they approach carbon dioxide gassing machines, in breach of industry welfare standards that prohibits animals walking over and trampling other animals, 
  3. long-running calls from animal welfare organisations and from the public to require the installation of CCTV cameras in abattoirs are again growing, but the industry has rejected these calls, 
  4. the ABC has reported that the abattoir at the centre of the recent 7.30 exposé has ceased operations rather than comply with instruction from the government regulator to install CCTV cameras as a condition of its licence, and
  5. whistleblowers and concerned members of the public who capture footage in abattoirs and animal agriculture facilities in NSW to expose animal welfare concerns such as this face penalties up to 5 years in prison an $220,000 in fines under so-called “ag-gag” laws. 

(3) That this House calls on the NSW Government to:

  1. contribute to the ongoing national review of animal welfare standards and guidelines for the slaughter of livestock by supporting investment in welfare improvements, including through alternative gas mixtures which have less painful and aversive impacts,
  2. require installation of CCTV cameras in all industrial agriculture facilities, and in particular in abattoirs, and
  3. overturn “ag-gag” laws which criminalise whistleblowing in agriculture facilities. 

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