2024 Edition

Jo-Anne McArthur

Millions of animals in the city

Slaughterhouse in Taipei, Taiwan, 2019

Category - Humanity Versus Nature

Millions of animals in the city

This man registers stacked cages of red-feathered native chickens, which are then weighed and sorted. Behind him are rows of trucks that continue to roll into the building: hundreds of thousands of birds pass through this Taipei slaughterhouse every night. I spent the night documenting the practices of this slaughterhouse with the Society for the Environment and Animals in Taiwan. Even though I was free to move around, my presence aroused some suspicion. Industrial animal farming is currently the subject of debate: we know that it contributes to the spread of zoonotic diseases and animal suffering, as well as to pollution and climate change. The global chicken population is now over 33 billion, and we know that birds raised for meat and to lay eggs are kept in increasingly cramped conditions, which can be seen in how they were transported into Taipei on this night. Giving visual insight into the lives of workers, and how we as a society treat farmed animals, is a necessary ingredient for understanding, and then change.

50.0 mm f/1.8 Lens - 1/250 sec at f/2.8 ISO 4000