Water usage at the slaughterhouse
Updated: Jan 20
(by Clif Grant, Becci Pigeon)
We often hear about how much water is used to produce animal products. The numbers are indeed staggering. Consider this chart:
But animal agriculture doesn't just use an outsized amount of water: as the chart below shows, it pollutes far more than its fair share, too. Eutrophication, or the pollution of water bodies with the runoff of excess nutrients, is a major environmental issue in the UK and worldwide--and animal products are big contributers. There are multiple reasons for this but the massive amounts of waste 77 billion land animals produce annually is a big part. We aren't doing enough to combat it, and even when farms outright break the law, they often go unprosecuted.
This post takes a look at another angle of water pollution: the slaughter process.
Survey information shows that up to 7.5 cubic metres of water is used to produce 1 tonne of beef or sheep meat, simply from the process of from slaughtering, cutting and retail packing. The animals are received and killed, eviscerated and bled out. Hair is removed and the bodies are chopped into small pieces for human consumption. The volume of water used is huge...and the wash away includes blood, viscera, excrement, urine, toxic cleaning solutions, pathogens, nitrogen, phosphorus and other oxygen depleting pollutants.
Once released into our waterways, this toxic mix suffocates aquatic life, drives excess algae growth and causes waterway dead zones. This is eutrophication. This is animal agriculture.
An analysis of government audits carried out at more than 300 abattoirs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2017 identified major hygiene failings in more than 1 in 4 UK slaughterhouses. The failings can and will expose consumers to serious food poisoning illnesses such as E.coli, salmonella and campylobacter. The investigation also revealed that official Food Standards Agency (FSA) records were falsified to conceal true levels of meat contamination.
In short, the animals are murdered, the environment is destroyed catastrophically and people sicken and die.
Slaughterhouses are an abomination on this earth and a disgusting stain on our so called humanity.