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Reflections from Bassatin slaughterhouse

News Section Icon Published 18/06/2009

Compassion in World Farming visited the notorious Bassatin slaughterhouse in Cairo to witness the slaughter of just one of the hundreds of thousands of pigs who have been culled in recent weeks in Egypt.

Our Head of Campaigns, Lasse Bruun, filmed the slaughter and his account of the day follows the footage...

"We knew that it was of paramount importance to capture the slaughter of the pigs for documentation and future lobbying. But getting access to the massive Bassatin slaughterhouse was not easy. It was clear that the local authorities were keen to avoid having outsiders witnessing their slaughter process - especially knowing that Compassion had already condemned their killing methods.

"After continued pressure and days of prolonged conversations and negotiations, we finally reached an agreement to film some of the slaughter due to take place on the morning of 9 June.

"Having waited all morning, a truck with pigs arrived just after noon. Expecting to film the whole process from unloading to slaughter we found ourselves being stalled yet again. Much to our dismay we were informed that we had to wait for some security precautions to be carried out before we could enter the slaughterhouse itself. We had to wait another hour before we were finally taken to the location of the slaughter.

"After having seen the mass culling with pigs being dumped into trucks and later buried alive on video, I was prepared for very bad scenes. What awaited me, though, was one of the worst slaughters I have experienced.

"Besides the actual horrible slaughter of the pig which I captured on tape, I found it very hard to witness the petrified live pigs waiting to be slaughtered. Not only were they able to see, hear and smell the other pigs being slaughtered right in front of them. But, due to the space constraints they were forced to lie on top of the dead and dying pigs, getting covered by their blood. Knowing how intelligent pigs are, there is no doubt whatsoever that they knew what was awaiting them. They seemed to be paralysed with fear, but their eyes reflected the horror they were going through.

"This total disregard for the both the physical and psychological state of the pigs was made even stronger by the fact that there actually were a holding pen leading into the slaughter room which could have saved the pigs some of the unnecessary suffering. Furthermore there were ceiling hooks where the pigs could have been hung to bleed thus losing consciousness much quicker instead of struggling in agony for several minutes.

"Unfortunately I was not in a position to help the pigs that were slaughtered that day and ease their pain. But I do hope that they didn't go through their pain needlessly. We will keep on fighting to get an animal welfare act agreed, implemented and reinforced in Egypt, so the scenes from Bassatin slaughterhouse will be a horrible memory of the past. I encourage everybody who is as appalled as I am to react by taking action here.

"Thank you for your support."

Lasse Bruun


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