How many pregnant mothers are slaughtered for meat and dairy? The sickening numbers

How many pregnant mothers are slaughtered for meat and dairy? The sickening numbers

One of the darkest secrets behind the production of meat and dairy is the huge amount of animals who are being slaughtered while pregnant. The industry manages to hide this reality well, but it's time to unveil the hideous truth.

Studies from different countries have found what can only be described as sickening. The numbers show that many of the females who are sent to slaughter, are also carrying a baby! These mothers-to-be are arriving from both meat and dairy farms, and it's happening all around the world.

In some bovine slaughterhouses, around 5% of the slaughtered females were pregnant, making it 1 cow out of 20. In other slaughterhouses, nearly a quarter (25%) of the females who were slaughtered were carrying a baby. To top that, most of the slaughtered females were found to be in their second and third trimesters![1][2]

Given how common this loathsome practice has become, it's safe to say that by consuming meat or dairy, one is also directly supporting the slaughter of pregnant mothers.

According to Studies: Many females sent to slaughter are pregnant

In Denmark, a study from 2019 has found that 23% of the female cows who were sent to one of the country’s biggest slaughterhouses were pregnant![3]

In the UK, a staggering 23.5% of the female cows who were sent to a slaughterhouse in South West England were found to be pregnant.[4]

In Belgium, a study from 2006 found that on average, 10.1% of female cows were carrying babies while slaughtered.[5]

A 2011 study of 53 different abattoirs in Germany found that on average, 9.6% of slaughtered female cows were pregnant. Moreover, around 90% of them were slaughtered during the last two trimesters of pregnancy![4] A newer study published in 2016 concluded that "the slaughter of pregnant cattle is a common and widespread practice in German abattoirs.".[6]

In Australia, two different sources mention that the ratio of pregnant dairy cows is very high. According to Josh Agland, an ex-worker of an abattoir in NSW Australia, at least 50% of the dairy cows who arrived at the slaughterhouse were pregnant. In addition, an article that was published in 2008 in the Australian Brahman Breeders’ Association stated that "abattoir surveys in Queensland indicate that approximately 60% of cows are pregnant when slaughtered.".

Looking back 25 years, it seems that researchers from the United States didn't examine the percentage of pregnant animals who are slaughtered, perhaps due to lack of funding by the meat and dairy industry for this type of research. A study from 1993 which examined 23 different meat farms in southwest Kansas found that "the incidence of pregnancy varied from 0 to 25% with an overall mean of 4.74%".[7]

The slaughter of pregnant cows - Limoges, France (video: L214).

Why slaughter pregnant animals?

Pregnant females arrive from both meat farms and dairy farms.[3] Among the common reasons for sending pregnant mothers to slaughter is infertility (meaning the farmers think the animals are infertile when they are actually pregnant)[4][8], mastitis (an udder infection, common among dairy cows)[4], poor health[3], and high demand of meat.[9]

A calf who was born during his mother's transportation to slaughter.

A mother cow looking at her newly born baby who was born while she was being transported to slaughter. She was killed later that day. The calf was left on the side of the road and was reported to have been rescued.

The pregnant animal's perspective

Can we even begin to imagine what it must feel like for a pregnant female who is flooded with all sorts of hormones such as cortisol (associated with stress) and oxytocin[10] (known as the "love hormone”), to go through the terrifying experience of being violently rooted from their only known surrounding and transported to a slaughterhouse?

In the case of one pregnant cow, the transport alone was so stressful that she jumped out of the moving vehicle and into the highway. Luckily for this cow, who was later named Brianna, a local sanctuary came to her rescue and she was able to give birth a few days later in safety.

But the vast majority of these pregnant mothers don’t get a happy ending. Some are so stressed, they go into early labor on the transportation trucks or inside slaughterhouses, where they’re surrounded by the stench of blood and the screams of other terrified animals.

Pregnant cow from Germany during her transportation to be slaughtered
Pregnant cow from Germany during her transportation to be slaughtered

Concerned people comfort a dairy cow from Germany who was sold to a slaughterhouse in Turkey. In the middle of the days-long transport, she went into labor and had her stomach cut open in the middle of the street with no pain killers. Her baby was born dead and she was killed soon after. (Photo: Animal Welfare Foundation / Eyes on Animals)

Cited studies on the subject suggest that there isn't enough research on the physical[9] and psychological[11] state of pregnant animals who are slaughtered. But is this really needed? Isn’t it obvious that being pregnant adds another layer of physical pain and emotional stress, to the already terrorizing experience of being slaughtered?

If we also factor in other variables, such as the fact that many of the pregnant mothers who are being sent to slaughter are also suffering from health problems [3], things become even more tragic. As if being slaughtered while carrying a new life inside you, a life you're so eager to protect and love, was not the very definition of torture already.

Dairy cow who collapsed being sent to slaughter although she can’t even walk.
Dairy cow who collapsed being sent to slaughter although she can’t even walk.

Dairy cows who collapse are sent to slaughter. Many of whom are also pregnant. (Photo: Farm Sanctuary)

How can I help?

In order to make this world a kinder place for mothers and babies, please give vegan food a try. For an easy start, join Challenge 22 to get free guidance and support for 22 days.

About Kinder World

Kinder World is a non-profit initiative dedicated to encouraging compassion for animals. You can reach us at


  1. Divya on May 2, 2020 at 8:56 PM

    Really Pathetic.. I really dont understand what is the need to kill and eat.

  2. Brian Dennis Whitney on April 30, 2020 at 12:55 PM

    PLEASE PLEASE help to STOP all FORMS of animal abuse and Cruelty to animals that are being treated this way. I don’t know how people can be so disrespectful about the way domestic livestock is being treated. PLEASE report all animal abusers to the international animal welfare rights COMMISSION around the WORLD and STAND UNITED against animal abuse, Cruelty, violence, HUNTING and poaching as well as trading and trafficking OF animal meat being exported to China for the wet market trading. PLEASE keep me informed and updated on your campaign work and SUPPORT against animals being slaughtered by inhumane people who are responsible for their actions and crimes against animals.

  3. Maire Hurme on March 14, 2020 at 9:18 AM

    This was heartbreaking to watch!
    All I can ask is: Is it really necessary to act in this way with no respect and empassion for a new life???

  4. Carol Price on March 14, 2020 at 2:42 AM

    I have just been educated. I am feeling really ashamed as a human right now

  5. Sherry matthews on March 13, 2020 at 11:55 PM

    I thought we were more evolved than this. Very disappointed.

    • Mrs June Franks on March 15, 2020 at 11:21 AM

      This cruelty is obscene. If, as the saying goes: “A picture paints a thousand words” then we need to be making sure more and more people are presented with the truth of how meat reaches their plates. I know that most people I come across who eat meat, tend to bury their heads in the sands. Most profess to be animal lovers – yet still fund and accept this evil system. There are so many plant-based alternatives – which are beconing more readily available. My last stumbling block to becoming Vegan was eggs, but gave them up for Lent and intend to make this permanent. Now I can truly hold my head up in support of all sentient beings on earth as a fully-fledged Vegan at 65 years old. Better late than never! Xxx

  6. Bozena Kordek on March 13, 2020 at 2:09 AM

    We buy, they all die! GO VEGAN!

  7. Eloise on March 12, 2020 at 7:56 PM

    I really need to stop eating meat. Ugh,, The bovine industry is horribly brutial to these innocent victims.
    This inhuman animal abuse needs to end. Not enough regulation !
    Man is by far the most dangerous animal on the planet for hurting and torture.

    • Connie Morgan on March 13, 2020 at 12:04 AM

      Please help these defenslous animals. Thank you so much.

      • Nimal on May 2, 2020 at 5:36 AM

        Please don’t eat meat or try to stop drinking milk. The all we are family partners.

  8. Ezhilverl Nadarajah on March 12, 2020 at 6:32 PM

    Appreciate your efforts to stop killing innocent animals kinderworld!