A Humane Pig Slaughter, from beginning to end

When most people sit down to eat a meal with meat, they rarely stop to think about what that means. To produce that beautiful pork chop, roast chicken, or filet mignon, an animal has to be raised from its first day on this earth to the final day of slaughter. As someone that eats meat, I have always thought it was important to understand and appreciate the sacrifice every animal makes for us to have them as part of our meal.

It is a noble pursuit for a farm to raise animals that have a healthy, happy, and humane life that ends with an ethical slaughter free of suffering. I believe if a person eats meat, they should be comfortable with understanding and seeing the slaughtering process. I had the opportunity to photograph a humane slaughter of two pigs, not for retail sale, which is shown below. The photos are graphic, but to me, represent the most humane method of slaughtering an animal.

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20 Responses to A Humane Pig Slaughter, from beginning to end

  1. Jerry G. says:

    Its good that Sawyer isn’t squeamish towards that stuff.

  2. Miranda Dalton says:

    This documentation of a pig slaughter is interesting and informative. However I think the author should elaborate on what makes the slaughter ethical “from beginning to end.” From the slaughtered pig’s point of view, it seems to end with the first gun shot. From the other pigs’ point of view, there must be some stress associated with seeing one of their own dead and bleeding on the ground. Just asking.

    • josh says:

      When I say beginning to end, I mean from right before the gunshot to having the pig ready to hang in a freezer.

      The photo of the pigs surrounding the recently killed pig might seem like a gathering of mourners, but I observed the entire event and they seemed curious, not upset, about the pig. My feeling is that because the pig died so quickly and there was no struggle, the other pigs didn’t realize what had happened. You can certainly see it in a pigs’ eyes and how frantic their movements are if they aren’t feeling safe or comfortable, and I didn’t see anything like that when they approached.

  3. Evelyn S. says:

    I happened upon this site while researching Factory Farming. You mention that you appreciate the sacrifice that the pig is making, I don’t think the pig had a vote. I am trying to understand the mindset of people who view the pigs as only a commodity, not as a living creature who has the intelligence of a toddler. Studies have shown that they are smarter than a dog. Surely no one would contemplate slaughtering and eating a dog or a cat. From my perspective, there is no difference. I would no more slaughter a pig than slaughter my dog. I’m sure you’ve probably heard this view before and can’t comprehend it. You might want to visit” Esther The Wonder Pig”, a four year old pig who was raised as a member of the family. It has not only bonded with the humans, but her best friend and companion is a dog. It makes my heart hurt seeing the little girl taking the ending of a life so casually.

    Although I can’t comprehend killing this animal, your method is certainly far more humane than those in Factory Farms. At least the animal dies quickly. I was glad to see the pigs in a pasture setting. At least they have a decent life before it is ends.

    I just wanted to share my perspective. I haven’t eaten meat in forty years after I connected the animal flesh on my plate to the reality of how the majority of pigs are raised, transported, and slaughtered. Surely you’ve seen the videos on factory farming and how the animals truly suffer.

    I don’t know anything about you or your life. Are these pigs merely for your family’s consumption or do you sell them? I would appreciate your personal views.

    • David V. says:

      Hello, I just want give my outlook. Animals are food.though the years people has taking a animal and study it on what it’s best to be use cattle milk and meat. goat meat,milk horses for riding,working, and pets -pigs are know to way back til as food still are some as made as a pet. but that sad thing is tea cup pigs that under fed to maintain there small size which is illegal but i still see people selling them on line. there are way more thing that is wrong with mind sets like killing our babys before there born they didn’t get to vote either! yet more baby was killed in all the wars we ever had put together and then some estimated since 1980 world has killed 1,407,247,301 babys to right now. so pig are food.Babys get murdered

    • JV says:

      Here’s my 2 cents:
      I have absolutely no need to justify eating meat. We’re omnivores and that’s it for me. My girl is about same age as the one in those pictures above and she also takes very casually the fact that farm animals are raised for food. Obviously, we have raised our own sheep, chicken & turkeys for years now so she’s grown to know where food comes from. We grow meat just for our own needs.

      What comes to other animals like dogs & cats, we have 2 of both. While I personally wouldn’t slaughter them because of emotional bondage, I still don’t think there is anything fundamentally wrong about eating dogs or cats if they are treated properly and slaughtering is done humanely. So I think that only difference between eating dogs and pigs is in our minds and culture. For example, we eat quite a lot of horse and reindeer meat here in Finland and I have personally butchered a couple of ponies myself. (horses are not raised for meat here, so those were put down because of injuries or old age)

      Btw, thanks for the author of this blog, interesting stories!

  4. Kylo says:

    The pig may be raised “humanely.” But, there is nothing humane about slaughter, period. Perhaps, we could call ISIS humane towards their captives.

  5. Rose Barden says:

    It’s sad that ‘humans’ readily use the word Humane…without seemingly to understand its definition.

    May I please ask are you advocating that the Chinese also Slaughter Dogs in this fashion?

  6. Cindy Tesler says:

    I agree that it’s important to understand and appreciate the sacrifice every animal makes for us to have them as part of our meal. You also mention that if a person eats meat, they should be comfortable with seeing the slaughtering process. I think it’s important to choose a slaughtering method that is both humane and quick for the pig so that it’s not suffering in its death.

  7. persia samovar says:

    Everyone should agree that a short death is preferable to a protracted death. But I believe that it is much more important for a food animal to have a quality life in which it had the amount of space, activity, challenges, social interactions that it likes than what kind of death it was provided. If a food animal can have what it considers a healthy purposeful life AND a quick death that was not prefaced by fear (did not know it was in danger) then society was not harmed. I do not feel it is helpful for people to take a stand against any meat production for others. Yes,it is great if you as an individual feel strongly about the rightness of something and stick to it, but you do a disservice to animal well-fair when you say blanketly that there is no humane killing. That line of thinking makes it pointless to attempt to develop better ways to kill. You will never get the majority of people to stop consuming meat. Your stand against any killing ensures improvements won’t be attempted. If people stopped gorging/overeating and had fewer meals with meat, not completely abstaining from meat, I don’t think we would need industrial animal production and all the misery that goes with that. I think the reduced demand would enable the needs to met by local farmers. Advocate for eating less meat and eating only healthy happy meat and society will benefit. Again, the quality of life is more important than the death but it is not good for the “killer/slaughterer” to over inflict fear and pain.

  8. anna lemke says:

    Thank you for allowing the pigs roaming space and being able to socialize. Would it be too much work to isolate a pig that is being killed? I wouldn’t want to watch my friend die. Also perhaps the freaking out you may not be able to observe that a pig feels watching a human approach with a gun or other lethal object. Just a thought, I don’t live in your shoes. Thinking about how the big industries treat livestock is horrifying.

  9. George says:

    well this is what i think , when it comes to killing our food we are allot better at it than animals are , if that pig was to be killed by anything in the wild (including old age) for example wolves , k9’s and most pack hunters main method of killing is disemboweling there prey , cats suffocate there prey with a throat bite , snakes also asphyxiate there prey , it would suffer way more dieing a so called “natural” death in the wild than what it would when we kill it , even slowly dieing from old age or a broken limb that gets infected and festers , animals die way worse in the wild all the time , the thing that is more important i think is what kind of life quality a farmed animal has before it is killed.

  10. Jacob Garcia says:

    if I were hungry enough I would eat a person. Look at the movie alive. Life is a screwed up situation. we are lucky to be top dog or we would be food,

  11. i luv bacon says:

    pigs + knives+ isa slaughter= oily bacon
    my name is isa slaughte

  12. Kara Mia says:

    I am an animal advocate and pescetarian. My dream is to have enough land one day and run a no-stray animal program. The reason for ‘enough land’ is so that I am able to farm and keep farm animals to feed my strays. I was in the midst of researching ‘humane’ methods to ending the lives of our farm animals and came across your post. I do not advacate cruelty for humans and animals and even our nature and fish (which admittedly as a borne islander is still a difficulty for me to give up fish)…i digress…but using a stun gun is an interesting solution for me…followed by the usual steps to end the life of the animal. ..i am impressed. ..i was researching the option to bleed the animal by cutting a main artery…and the beast bleeds to death slowly like an overwhelming sleep overcomes them….(maybe watching too many seriel killer movies). ..again i digress…i am settling on your solution the more i research…i completely understand what you mean ‘to honour and respect the life your taking’ for your consumption…in the early days man hunted only what they needed… we as humans may have the choice to give up meat but i have yet to see an animal that is an omnivore or carnivore choose to eat greens alone and survive…i have two furry babies and they love their bone broth and liver treats….Thanks for sharing! !! Woof!

  13. coppertopper says:

    I have a couple friends who are vegetarians and their main reason is the unethical treatment of animals, which I totally agree with. I have stopped buying chicken in stores due to this – factory farmed chickens have a horrible life. So seeing small farms this trend back to people having their own chickens for eggs and really thinking about the ethical treatment of animals is wonderful. I’m in an area where wild hogs are a nuisance so was looking for a good way to put them down after trapping them – this farmer seems to have an elegant solution.

  14. Joshua says:

    Hello. I don’t think you could do much more to make that more humane. If the whole world raised, cared and processed meat like this, it would be a better place. Mass meat production is in a sad state. Dirty tight unhealthy living environments and high amounts of antibiotics to keep away diseases… People need to understand that the bullet to the head is the fastest way to kill an animal. Would I eat cat or dog, yes. But if I could choose between cat, dog or pig. The pig wins. It’s meat taste better and it produces more meat with less care and time than a dog or cat. It’s like fishing. Would you eat your pet goldfish or go fishing and eat a proper wild big fish?

  15. Beth says:

    No. The animal did not sacrifice their life for you. You took it from them. Lol.

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