Abuses in modern processes include: overcrowded transport facilities with lack of adequately trained and supervised attendants; infection from unrestricted contact with diseased animals; inadequate feeding arrangements and gastric upsets from overfeeding by owners prior to sale; rough handling by attendants; disturbance from noise or careless handling; inadequate protection from extremes of climate; inadequate ante-mortem examination facilities; inefficient stunning from lack of training of abattoir personnel; inaccurate cutting or stabbing because an animal is recovering consciousness (following electric stunning or carbon dioxide anaesthesia) due to delay; poor hygiene; unskilled meat inspection and inefficient utilization of by-products leading to waste. Abuses in traditional slaughter processes include; throwing fully conscious animals to the ground with ropes or chains prior to killing; hoisting fully conscious cattle into the air by means of a chain fastened to a hind leg; stabbing into the heart and major blood vessels of fully conscious pigs; somersaulting conscious cattle; cutting into the throat of conscious sheep and lambs; bleeding to death of conscious poultry, which is a common system in many of the world's poultry packing stations; puncturing the spinal cord or driving a blunt instrument into the skull of meat animals by unskilled persons.
The US California Equine Council is promoting a "Save the Horses," campaign to try and outlaw the slaughtering of horses for food. Every year 100,000 horses in the USA are slaughtered for shipment abroad, mostly to butchers and restaurants in France, Belgium and Japan. The council claims horses are crowded into low-ceiling trailers and shipped without food or water to slaughterhouses out of state, most of them in Texas, a three day ride. There the horses are killed by metal bolts shot point-blank into their heads.
Animals slaughtered with spiked hammer blows may be struck in the eye or have their heads opened. Several blows may be required. They may fall or remain standing in crowded pens smothered in blood. Animals may be hung from chains fully conscious until they have bled to death or are flung into boiling water. Sometimes the eyes of horses burst before they are killed. The human effect of these practices is that slaughterhouse and abattoir workers may be traumatized by such violence and that all people with knowledge of these atrocities may be brutalized.
In some countries it is believed that the more painful the death the more potent the taste of meat.