Behind Closed Doors: the Reality of Australian Farming



Confined and Slaughtered

80% of 'beef' sold in major supermarkets comes from cows raised in intensive "feedlots',[1] where they are forced into cramped, dirty and brutal conditions. At 12-18 months old, they are slaughtered.[2] Cows are stunned using a bolt gun or firearm, then have their throats cut. It is not uncommon for cows to remain fully conscious while their throats are slit. Cattle grazing causes 90% of deforestation in the Great Barrier Reef catchment area.[3]  Traditional Owners have reported illegal grazing on sacred land,[4] referring to the destruction of land as "devastating' and 'shattering’.[5] 



Exploited and Killed for Food & Clothing

Each year, around 29 million sheep are killed for their flesh in Australia: approximately 7-8 million adults and 21 million lambs (averaged from 2017-22).[6] Most die between 6-8 months of age, despite having a lifespan of 12-14 years. Additionally, over 10 million newborn lambs die every year[7] due to neglect, starvation and exposure,[8] largely due to the industry practice of winter lambing. Sheep bred for both meat and wool are routinely mutilated without anaesthetic.[9] These procedures include tail docking, mulesing, disbudding, dehorning and castration. They are also subjected to invasive breeding procedures, confinement and exposure to extreme weather conditions.



Killed for Food in Broken Bodies

Genetically modified to grow 300 times faster than in the 1960s,[10] chickens grown for meat are killed at 40 days old, already heavier than an average adult laying hen.[11] A human baby growing at this rate would weigh 300kg at two months old.[12] Birds grow so quickly that their legs often collapse, crippling them. The vast majority of the 700 million chickens slaughtered annually in Australia[13] are raised in total confinement. Their lives are spent with barely any space to move. Sheds often hold 40,000 - 60,000 chickens.[14]



Caged and Gassed to Death

Mother pigs (sows) are forcibly impregnated multiple times a year, spending much of their lives confined to small cages.[15] The Australian pig farming industry committed to a phase-out of sow stalls by 2017,[16] however a 2022 investigation confirmed they are still in widespread use.[17] Most pigs are stunned in a CO, gas chamber. They scream and gasp for air until they suffocate from the painful gas. Pigs' throats are then cut and they are submerged in scalding water. Some pigs reach this stage fully conscious, drowning in unimaginable agony.



Babies Taken from Their Mothers

Cows produce milk because they are mothers. In the dairy industry, cows are forcibly impregnated and endure an ongoing cycle of pregnancies, only to have their calves torn from them soon after each birth. Once they can no longer produce enough milk, dairy cows are killed at a fraction of their natural lifespan.[18] Male calves are considered 'waste products' by the dairy industry. In Australia, over 400,000 'bobby' calves are slaughtered annually, so we can take the milk meant for them.[19]



A Life of Confinement & Suffering

Egg laying hens experience extreme, legal cruelty. Their fragile bodies are crammed into tiny cages and many stand on wire 24/7.[20] Even on free range and RSPCA approved farms, hens are subjected to painful debeaking[21] and are killed when laying slows. Half of all chicks hatched are males who cannot lay eggs. Around 12 million of these economically 'worthless' day-old chicks are ground up alive, suffocated, or gassed to death each year in Australia. Egg farming causes environmental pollution,[22] poor worker conditions and health risks for surrounding communities.[23]



Trillions Slaughtered, Ecosystems Destroyed

The number of fishes we kill for food is so high it is estimated in tonnes, not individuals. At least 1-3 trillion fishes are killed every year[24] - each a unique animal with the ability to think, feel, and suffer. Most are killed by slow, painful suffocation but, for fishes caught in deep waters, depressurisation as they are dragged to the surface causes their organs to burst. Rampant fraud and misleading labelling deceives consumers into believing they are purchasing 'sustainable' seafood.[25] Fishing and fish farming are also a human rights issue, with occurrences of human trafficking and modern slavery being extensive and well documented.[26]



Ending a Life of Misery

Whether they are raised in organic, free range or intensive conditions, all animals end up at the slaughterhouse. The slaughter process will always involve some level of stress, fear and pain. Herded tightly onto trucks at the farm or in the saleyard, they are hauled often long distances to the abattoir, where they are forcefully packed into holding pens. Here they will wait overnight, confused and frightened, until slaughter begins in the morning. Smelling the blood and hearing the screams of those before them, they are aggressively pushed up the 'race', into the knock-

box or restraint device. Finally, they are immobilised by blunt force trauma, gas or electrical shock, and their throats are cut open. Above all, none of these animals want to die.



Every year, millions of animals suffer and are killed in Australian farms

and slaughterhouses. Dominion uses undercover footage, drones, hidden & handheld cameras to pull back the curtain on industries which use animals for food, clothing and entertainment, and share the violent reality of modern animal farming. Watch the film for free at



Veganism is more than just a healthy diet. It's a movement for justice that begins with removing our support from industries that harm and exploit animals. If you're ready to build

a kinder world, visit and take the 30 day challenge.



Throughout history, change has happened when ordinary people have come together to demand it. Right now, animals are suffering and dying for no better reason than money, tradition and convenience… but we have the power to stop it.

Are you ready to take action?

Visit and take the first step.



[1] Australian Lot Feeders’ Association (ALFA). 2015. Submission in Response to the ‘Strengthening Australia’s Foreign Investment Framework’ Modernisation Options Paper. Sydney NSW 2000..

[2] PWC. 2011. The Australian Beef Industry the Basics.

[3] Boren Z, Ross A & Rooke D. 2021.  Australian beef industry linked to destruction of forests home to endangered species. Greenpeace Unearthed. December 15, 2021 

[4] Price J. 2020. Traditional owners on APY Lands concerned illegal cattle grazing could damage country, sacred sites. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. August 19. Web.

[5] Allam L. 2019. Dark Emu’s infinite potential: ‘our kids have grown up in a fog about the history of the land’. The Guardian. May 24. Web

[6] Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2022. Livestock Products - Australia. ABS Website.

[7] Ipsen, Matthew. 2013. World’s best practice in Lamb Survival. Project Report. Nuffield Australia Project 1316. 44.

[8] Geenty, K. G., F. D. Brien, G. N. Hinch, R. C. Dobos, G. Refshauge, M. McCaskill, A. J. Ball et al. 2013. Reproductive performance in the Sheep CRC Information Nucleus using artificial insemination across different sheep-production environments in southern Australia. Animal Production Science 54, no. 6. 715-726.

[9] Animal Welfare Victoria. 2022. Code of Accepted Farming Practice for the Welfare of Sheep (Victoria) (Revision Number 3). Agriculture Victoria. Web

[10] Knowles TG, Kestin SC, Haslam SM, et al. 2008. Leg disorders in broiler chickens: prevalence, risk factors and prevention. PLoS ONE. 3:e1545.

[11] RSPCA. 2019. How are meat chickens farmed in Australia? RSPCA Knowledgebase. Web.

[12] Wideman, R.F., Rhoads, D., Erf, G., Anthony, N. 2013. Pulmonary arterial hypertension (ascites syndrome) in broilers: A review. Poultry Science. 92(1):64-83.

[13] Australian Chicken Meat Federation. 2017. Facts & Figures - ACMF. ACMF. Web.

[14] Poultry Hub Australia. Meat chicken (broiler) industry.

[15] CSIRO.2008. Primary Industries Standing Committee Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals Pigs Third Edition. PISC Report 92.

[16] Australian Pork. Housing.

[17] Farm Transparency Project. 2022. Sow stalls.

[18] Data Gene. 2017. Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Report 2017. DataGene Limited.

[19] Dairy Australia. Bobby Calves. Web.

[20] Acil A. 2021. Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Poultry [Review of Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Poultry]. Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.

[21] Acil A. 2021. Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Poultry [Review of Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Poultry]. Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.

[22] Vesna R, Lidija P, Stojcic D and Natasa V. 2011. The environmental impact of poultry production.

Biotechnology in Animal Husbandry. 1673-1679.

[23] Michelle C. 2013. How The Poultry Industry Is Grinding Up Workers’ Health And Rights. In These Times.

[24] Fish Count. 2019. Towards more humane commercial fishing.

[25] Leahy S. 2021. Revealed: seafood fraud happening on a vast global scale. The Guardian. Web.

[26] International Labour Organisation. Forced labour and human trafficking in fisheries (Forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking).