Home VM NewsOpinion 6 million animals are killed for food every hour

6 million animals are killed for food every hour

by Darryl Grima
cow at abatoir

6 million animals are killed for food every hour. By the time you finish reading this article around 1 million animals would have been killed. In just one day over 150 million animals are killed for food around the world (just on land excluding fish).

These numbers are so high that as individuals we cannot comprehend them. How can we understand 150 million animals killed in one day, or even 6 million animals killed in one hour? The sheer magnitude of industrial farming has grown so much that it has become surreal. There has never been a species on this planet that has caused so much death and destruction as much as us!

cow at abatoir

To churn out these staggering numbers we have full blown industrial farms and this is where the cruelty amplifies itself. Industrial farms are so far away from the romantic idea we have of farms. They are engineered places of mass torture where animals are just considered and treated as stock and their short life is managed to provide the highest yield and profit with the least possible cost irrespective of the suffering and cruelty it causes. Let’s take an example of broiler chickens (not hens kept for laying eggs). In the EU the slaughter age for broiler chickens is typically 5 to 7 weeks. 1  Apart from being so short, this short life is far from being a happy one. The images we see of “happy” chickens couldn’t be further away from the grim truth of how chickens in industrial farms live. And don’t expect that this isn’t happening in Malta as well. Go on the websites of local chicken farmers and all you will see are images of dead meat. They will not show you the everyday conditions in which the chickens live. Why don’t they have live webcams?

To give them their due, it’s not as though they are breaking the law! They aren’t. Under the eyes of the law, animals are just property. The English word livestock best defines it. Animals are just merchandise/goods that happen to be (inconveniently) alive. So much so that European Veterinary departments are not there to see that farm animals live a happy life, but that they are bred and finally slaughtered in the safe conditions/standards for human consumption. The emphasis and concern is human consumption!

But the torture of animals for food is not limited to chickens. It is across the board. Rabbits, Malta’s traditional dish, live in wire mesh cages. These cages are usually suspended (elevated) from the ground so that the farmer doesn’t need to stay cleaning the cage. This means that rabbit’s which are naturally designed to run fast and hop on the ground, are confined in a small cage and constantly walk on wire mesh rather than the ground.

Have a look at this video on You Tube, which explores a pig farm in Malta. Whilst these aren’t the conditions of large scale European or even Chinese industrial farms you can understand and see that the animal (the pig) is just a object that passes from one production process to another. The fact that it lives and feels has only an economical consideration in the equation.

What we don’t see is the end part of this torturous process. When these animals, which in most cases have never spent a day out in the sun, are taken for the first time out, on a short ride to the abattoir and slaughtered. We have seen numerous actions by animal rights groups even locally like those organised by Animal Liberation Malta who make awareness initiatives trying to highlight the plight of these animals.


Strangely enough, requests by Veggy Malta and Animal Liberation Malta to film the slaughter process inside the abattoir have been constantly refused. The local authorities do not want to give us access to film this process which happens inside government (public) property. What is there to hide?

If you want to learn more about animal cruelty and why you should consider to stop eating meat. If you want to know here is a choice of documentaries that provides you with more information.

Earthlings (10 year anniversary).  http://www.nationearth.com

Cowspiracy (you can watch on Netflix): https://www.cowspiracy.com/

By the time you have read all this around one million animals have been killed, … do you want to make a REAL difference for animals? If your answer is yes, then Join the Malta Meat Free Week Challenge between the 7th and 13th of October and try out One Week Zero Meat. Take the first step and Join the Challenge here: https://maltameatfreeweek.com/join-the-challenge/

Photo credit: Animal Liberation Malta

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