Livestock Transportation in Indonesia

Right outside my work is a busy intersection. I usually head home from work between 4 and 5 pm and as I am inevitably caught at the  traffic lights I often catch up to one of these trucks that are transporting chickens. It breaks my heart because I know where they are headed.

There is often the idea that animals for food in Asia are raised in villages and they have a lovely life, however this is simply not true. Yes, many rural families will keep a few animals for their own consumption, but I don’t see all 15 million inhabitants of Jakarta with their ‘own’ animals in their back yards. There are factory farms in Asia just like there are in the rest of the world. The problem is, that it is so much worse. In our countries we have some laws to protect animals although they are very weak, poorly punished when they are broken and rarely enforced. In Indonesia there is nothing, indeed we KNOW that animals are not treated humanely during life and at the end of it. We know this as it has been documented by Animals Australia.

The other week, I went out for dinner with my colleagues and we had to pull over for the other car to catch up with us. While I was standing there for 5 minutes, 3 of these trucks passed me by. My heart broke a little as I watched and thought how scared those animals must be and for the fate that awaited them, for this is the truth of the animal livestock industry. I have no idea whether these animals were destined for meat or for egg production, regardless though, they will end their lives violently and with terrible fear and anguish. And for no good reason other than we can.


6 responses

  1. I am also saddened to see these chicken trucks going by each day. I haven’t eaten chicken since my first sighting and am cutting down on the eggs.

      • Having been a farmer with what I believe was a really great chicken and egg production facility that was super from the point of view of a chicken – (really, they had great lives – ok we stole their eggs away every day but is this any different than humans practicing contraception?) – my question is; can we source such a production site here? There must be some and whilst they won’t be able to supply the whole of Jakarta they could supply a modest consumption base. Replacement/imitation eggs are clearly an option but so is humane production, not? – Paul Sebastian

      • Hi Paul, Thank you so much for your comment. I’m an abolitionist in regards to the use of animals so I guess my opinion is very different to others. While I feel passionately about improving animal welfare, it is not my ultimate goal.You are right taking eggs is not so dissimilar to contraception, but that is not why I don’t agree with it. It’s the conditions the hens are kept in and the fact that when they can no longer produce eggs they suffer the same fate as the meat chickens. Also, it is industry standard to kill the male baby chicks as are useless to the farmer. My definition of humane is probably somewhat different to that of most others. I don’t believe killing something unnecessarily is humane. For others it would be an OK life and a swift death. There are certainly some facilities out there that would fit most people’s criteria for that word, but they are very thin on the ground and only sustainable because very few can afford it. The words free range is essentially a marketing term with no legal meaning and the word organic has nothing to do with the welfare of the animals rather the feed they are given. I guess in my mind, humane production would be a farm where the animals have a super life and die naturally of old age, but I fear that would not be economically viable. In regards to your final comment, I think that the situation I just mentioned would be OK (although I would just prefer it if we left animals alone), but I just think that if we can not only survive but also thrive in a way that doesn’t harm any sentient being, then why shouldn’t we? Does a facility exist in Jakarta fits humane by most people’s sense of the word? I doubt it… How would you find out? It would involve visiting all the farms, the hatcheries where the chicks came from, investigating the transportation and the slaughterhouses because there are no standards here.

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