Arrests after animal activist group moves on Benalla abattoir

Sheep Central, April 14, 2023

Farm Transparency Project activists in the Benalla abattoir. Source – Farm Transparency Project, Facebook.

SEVEN people have been arrested and charged following a break-in to protest gas stunning of pigs at a Benalla abattoir yesterday.

The arrests followed action by Farm Transparency Project activists to highlight the legal use of carbon dioxide stunning to render pigs unconscious before they are killed for processing.

The Farm Transparency Project claimed on their website that 30 people entered the Benalla slaughterhouse in northern Victoria early yesterday morning and and chained themselves to a CO2 gas chamber used to paralyse pigs. Other activists blocked blocking the race to stop pigs being herded to the chamber.

FTP director Chris Delforce locked inside a gondola where pigs are lowered into the gas chamber. Mr Delforce posed that having seen what he saw while hiding inside a gas chamber and filming the final moments of hundreds of pigs, he couldn’t wait any longer for someone else to act.

The group is calling for Victorian Minister for Agriculture Gayle Tierney and federal Minister for Agriculture Murray Watt to support a ban on gas chambers.

Farm Transparency Project director Chris Delforce locked inside equipment in the abattoir.

Victoria Police said they responded to protest activity at a property on Firth Road in Benalla on the understanding that a number of people chained themselves to equipment at the business at about 4am.

Police said seven people were arrested at the scene. As a result, three men and four women between the ages of 23 and 53 from Melbourne, Tasmania and New South Wales were charged with trespass offences and bailed to attend the Benalla Magistrates’ Court at later dates. No one was injured during the incident, police said.

After the incident, deputy leader of The Nationals and shadow Minister for Agriculture, Emma Kealy said Labor’s weak activist laws hurt businesses and employees, and waste the time of frontline emergency service workers.

“People have the right to operate their business without being repeatedly broken into and head to work without being disrupted by this illegal behaviour.

“While these activists are entitled to their views, damaging equipment, breaking and entering and halting legitimate business is an appalling, and brazenly illegal way to voice dissent,” she said.

Last year the Andrews Government blocked The Nationals’ proposals to increase biosecurity protections and increase penalties for trespassing activists under the Livestock Management Amendment (Animal Activism) Bill 2021. Victoria’s Minister for Agriculture Gayle Tierney and the Victorian Farmers Federation were contacted for comment.

The RSPCA’s website said stunning prior to slaughter is legally required in many countries including Australia to cause unconsciousness so that slaughter may be carried out without fear, anxiety, pain, suffering, or distress. The most common methods to stun pigs are electrical stunning and exposure to high concentrations of carbon dioxide gas (CO2).

Stunning with CO2 gas offers benefits over electrical stunning including the ability to stun animals in groups, with minimal restraint, less handling, and therefore potentially less stress before stunning, the RSPCA said.

The RSPCA has recommended that stunning/killing pigs with high concentrations of CO2 should be phased out and replaced with a more humane alternative. Further research is urgently needed to develop stunning systems which retain the benefits of group CO2 stunning while minimising the disadvantages, the RSPCA said.


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  1. Andrea McKay, April 18, 2023

    This is an issue for the slaughter house purely because it exposes an incredibly cruel practice that is otherwise hidden from the public. This slaughterhouse, named a ‘small business’ by the Nationals, processes up to 2500 pigs per day. It’s no small business. Co2 gassing is all about being able to kill larger amounts of pigs at once and increasing profits…it has nothing to do with the welfare of animals. Nothing humane happens here.

  2. John Buxton, April 15, 2023

    What is the real agenda behind these activists’ illegal activity? It is not about improving animal welfare. The intent is to give animals more or equal rights to people so that people can be oppressed. The second agenda is to see the demise of animal-based food production and the extermination of domestic food animals.

    • Andrea McKay, April 18, 2023

      Are you kidding John? The agenda of these people is the oppression of others? Wake up. Nobody travels interstate, they chain themselves inside a slaughterhouse, risking arrest and fines in order to oppress others. This is a group of people who are trying to expose legalised cruelty and to tell the community about something that is hidden from them, so they can make informed choices. And unfortunately, under current laws, they can’t do that without doing something illegal.

    • Nathan Reibelt, April 15, 2023

      Have a look at the footage John, then you’ll realize it is far from humane, validated by RSPCA concerns about CO2 stunning. Or keep your head in the sand John and let others sort this out and find a more humane way. After watching the footage, I’m off pork until they find a better alternative.

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