My first day at the slaughterhouse
A Meat and Dairy Industries Article from


Faith, Vegan Australia
May 2016

A meat eater all her life, Faith spent a day working in a slaughterhouse. That night she became vegan and a voice for all animals. Here is the raw emotional story she sent us in the days after her eyes were opened.


Day 1: Oh my god! Sorry for sending this message but I've always eaten meat and dairy and never thought twice about it. I've been out of work for over two years and I finally took a job at the abattoir. I didn't think much of it but was just relieved to have a job. I lasted one day. I couldn't do it. It is the most horrific, horrible thing I've ever witnessed in my life! And this was a supposed humane one.

I came home on Friday in tears. And the smell! The smell of death, I can still smell it! I can't sleep or get those images out of my head. I never ever want to touch meat again. I didn't think it would be like that. I've never tried new diets or life style changes because my grandparents raised us on a dairy farm. This was just horrific and I spent last night physically sick and I've had six showers, but can still smell the blood and death. I don't know how I'm going to do it. I have two kids but we are never ever buying meat again. I want to try vegan. Just the thought of buying and cooking meat now makes me feel sick. I lasted one day at the job and it was all I could do. And the first week was supposed to be just watching and I had no idea!

I feel so stupid because a few of my friends have gone vegan and I thought they were just crazy and following a new hippy trend. Now I feel bad for judging their decisions. I was told to watch documentaries and I never did. But I never thought it was that horrific. I thought the stun killed the animals instantly. It doesn't! They're alive and scream. And even if they were dead, the blood. OMG! I don't think I will ever ever be able to even walk near a meat department or butcher shop again.

Day 2: I am sitting here tonight and it still goes through my mind. Being out of work for so long I was so pleased to have a job. I believed everything the media wanted me to. It's humane! The animals don't feel it! As I drove up there was a big paddock full of cows and they were eating grass and it seemed normal. I felt a twinge of sadness then knowing what they were doing there but it wasn't until I got inside and saw it myself. I was given a tour and showed the butcher room where it looked like a normal butcher and that didn't bother me.

Then I was taken around and outside where I walked over and patted one of the cows. I haven't been that close to a cow since my grandparents had their farm. I was shown the packing room and I met other employees and then one of them said to me "Put these on and go and watch how it all happens". I was given boots and a plastic apron and walked around the back and through these huge doors where cows were lined up alive in a line and there was a noise like the "moo" noise they make but different. I truly believe now they were scared. Some of the cows were urinating and they do that out of fear. So through more doors and I was told that I wouldn't like what I saw but it was part of life. Part of agriculture and these cows were bred for this purpose. They had no other purpose. One came through and a gate came down blocking its head. It began to struggle and I did feel bad but I convinced myself it was just part of life. That was its purpose.

Somebody walked over with what looked like a small rod and it was a stun. It instantly knocked the cow to the ground and I expected it was dead. Just like that. But it wasn't. It was shaking and they told me it was only its nerves, the cow was brain dead now and wouldn't feel a thing. But after about one minute while they tied its legs up, it tried to stand up. That is NOT nerves! It stumbled and tried again but it was hoisted up by its back legs while the next cow was brought through to the head lock. I asked if it was dead and was told it was. But its eyes were open and for a split moment I made eye contact with it. Then it was moved hanging by its legs to an area of just white tiles, similar to a huge shower with a drain in the floor. And a man said to me "You will never have to do this job just don't throw up in here, okay." He walked over and while the cow was still struggling he cut its neck and it struggled wildly! It screamed. It jerked its head back and forth and blood just sprayed all over the wall and bucketed down from its neck. Its moo got softer and softer and it struggled less until it just hung.

I looked down. I was standing four feet from it and my boots were bright red, just covered in blood. I've never seen that much blood and I didn't know blood smelt. It does smell! It smells metallic and like death and this cow was winched across the room still bleeding while the next one came in exactly the same. Struggling. Eyes open and mooing fiercely and they said its just nerves. The cow is brain dead because of the bolt! I don't believe that. I stood there and watched seven cows get killed and I couldn't cope. After the fourth I had to go outside and throw up. I was told to put a cloth with Vicks over my nose and I would get over it. To rid the smell, but I couldn't. I thought of my kids and having a job and so I went back inside and three more cows.

Then I went back outside to where they were alive and took off my boots and apron and walked back to the butcher room where other employees did try to comfort me and suggest it was too soon for me to see the slaughter room they said. So I stayed in the butcher room and meat has never bothered me before. I once dated a butcher. But seeing that meat just made me see those cows and that blood and smell, that metallic smell of death. My boyfriend said to me tonight that blood has no smell, you imagined it. And I said to him, have you ever been right next to a literal flood of blood? Possibly litres and litres coming out and landing at your feet? No, it does smell! I told them on the way out that I wouldn't be back and they understood and gave me $75 for the day even though I just stood there.

I have never felt so much pain for another living being as I did those cows. It has had a dramatic effect on me and one I will never forget. I'm still crying tonight while I'm typing this and in a way perhaps it is good I had this experience. I have since spoken to my three vegan friends. I've apologised for criticising them and their decision when they chose vegan. Me, being a pushy opinionated meat eater, called them hippy wanna bees and that they were jumping on a new band wagon. I am so sorry to them and grateful they accepted that and are willing to help me to make this transition myself. One thing I know for sure is I will never ever eat meat again. Dairy may be a struggle but I will do my 100% best to eliminate animal products completely.

And most of all I will never ever forget Friday. Every detail, every sound, every smell, will forever stay etched in my mind as the moment that changed me. I am sickened at how I was lied to and convinced it was humane and the stun kills them. I've since discovered it in fact doesn't. Which I saw myself on Friday. There are two types one is a bolt and ones a stun. The stun shocks them but they wake back up. I am sure that's what they used here. I still feel sick and it will take a few days but I am so determined to even make the smallest change. Animals do not deserve this. I just wish I'd seen it sooner. And thank you for accepting my message and your kind reply. My past attitude towards vegans, I'm so ashamed of it now. Now I have seen what I've seen I fully support this and will be making anybody else I can aware of the cruelty of our "humane" slaughterhouses.

How would you react at seeing the horrors of a slaughterhouse? If you are not vegan, you are paying people to do the job Faith was asked to watch. Live vegan!

For all animals,

Return to The Meat and Diary Industries

Animal Slaughter Kill Counter:

Number of animals killed in the world by the fishing, meat, dairy and egg industries, since you opened this webpage.

0 marine animals
0 chickens
0 ducks
0 pigs
0 rabbits
0 turkeys
0 geese
0 sheep
0 goats
0 cows / calves
0 rodents
0 pigeons/other birds
0 buffaloes
0 dogs
0 cats
0 horses
0 donkeys and mules
0 camels / camelids