Slaughterhouse: How do people manage to kill hundreds of animals every day?

Two former butchers and a sociologist explain how animals are transformed from living creatures into row materials in professional, industrialized slaughtering, and what helps butchers to cope with their work emotionally.

“That was actually pretty abnormal,” says Thomas Schalz today, about his work in a slaughterhouse.
He worked there for 17 years, in all areas: driving, stunning, killing, and cutting the animals. The slaughterhouse in which he worked developed over the years into a large-scale slaughterhouse specializing in pigs.

Up to 3,500 pigs were slaughtered every day.

Above all, the anesthesia of the pigs with CO2, which happens before they are actually killed, is what Schalz still follows in his mind today.

“The pigs go down in a gondola in over 90 percent CO2 gas. It usually takes 20 to 30 seconds until the animals are unconscious.
And yes, they just can’t breathe anymore. There is no longer any oxygen they can breathe.
The strongest animals try to climb over the others and stretch their trunks up out of the mesh basket to breathe oxygen. But there is no oxygen, ” says Schalz, describing the stunning process.

Peter Hübner also worked in a large slaughterhouse – as part of his apprenticeship as a butcher.
Like Schalz, he is also a dropout. He remembers: “You saw this fear in their eyes, you saw this helplessness and you deliberately drove the animals to their death.”

Looking back, he says: “That was incredibly difficult.”

How did Hübner manage to drive so many animals to their death back then?

How did Thomas Schalz manage to drive thousands of pigs down into the CO2 pit at the push of a button over the years, knowing full well what was going on there?

How do slaughterhouse employees deal with slaughtering hundreds of animals on an assembly line every day?

How does the killing of animals become business as usual?


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And I mean…In a slaughterhouse, group morale applies, that is, whoever plays the tough guy wins respect and recognition in the group.

That actually forces one to suppress emotions or inhibitions (if he has any) against the slaughter.

There are many explanations of how to become a slaughterhouse worker.
I say it very clearly! that is primarily poverty.
Capitalism is merciless towards the poor.
Anyone who no longer knows how to survive chooses the easy solution and goes to the slaughterhouse.

The last scandals on the occasion of the corona-infected slaughterhouse workers in the empire of the meat baron Tönnies have proven it (

Despite this bitter reality: That is not why we would “understand” the slaughterhouse worker’s job, which in other words means to forgive him for doing this job.

There are also other job alternatives, garbage collectors, postmen, cleaning workers.
If you really can’t stand using electric pliers or nail guns to shot defenseless animals, slit animals’ necks to death in accord tempo, you get out and do something useful.

My best regards to all, Venus

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