Germany: Pig Mothers to the Slaughterhouse – as 'Birthing Machines' They are no Longer Profitable

Pig Transport Germany

Animals' Angels accompanies an animal transport with discarded 'breeding' sows. They are transported across Germany to a large slaughterhouse in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Through the bars of the truck, the discarded mother pigs look at us, exhausted. They are emaciated, their teats partly still filled with milk. Among them is Martha. Her last birth in a cramped cage was probably only a few weeks ago, and yet her children have already been taken away from her. We wonder how many piglets she had to give birth to before that.

Martha and the other sows are no longer economically viable as 'birthing machines' and are therefore transported to the slaughterhouse. Today it is warm - up to 28 °C. Martha stands in front of us, panting for fresh air with her mouth open. Her body, bred for high performance, is desperately trying to lower its temperature. There is no air conditioning on board the vehicles to cool down the temperature. The fans on board merely swirl the warm air around a bit. That's not enough for Martha and the other sows - they suffer from heat stress. There are no water troughs in the truck. They are not required by law on short animal transports of up to 8 hours.

We continue to follow the animal transporter and drive straight into a traffic jam on the highway. For minutes we stand still. We are very worried about Martha and the other sows. In the blazing sun and without airflow, they are mercilessly exposed to the heat. That's why we call the highway patrol. We want to know how long the traffic jam will last and whether there are any possibilities to guide the truck out. But the police are swamped with several accidents and can't help. After more than an hour and a half, the traffic jam finally dissipates. We accompany Martha to the the slaughterhouse. There, with a heavy heart, we have to let her and the other sows go.

We are horrified by her condition. Her sad eyes speak volumes. We wonder if Martha has seen daylight today for the first and last time in her life? Once again, we realize who the victims of factory farming are - animals like Martha. With a detailed report we turn to the responsible authorities and demand appropriate controls.