A gut-wrenching look at some of the cruel practices used in the animal industry.
Berlin-based documentary photographer Timo Stammberger explores hidden worlds that are not easily accessible. While his photo series include images taken in subway tunnels, for example, his work often focuses on the unseen facets of modern living. More specifically, on the practices used in the animal industry. The Tools and The Lives Of Others series showcase the cruel realities of this large-scale industry in Germany. However, the same practices are used throughout the Western world.
In Tools, the photographer takes a look at various utensils that are specially designed to make animals easier to control. He sourced most of the objects from animal rights activists but also ordered some of them online, photographed them, and returned them. Most of these tools are especially cruel, although they are completely legal to use – both in the EU and the US. Among them, the electric tail docker. This tool has a heated blade that workers use to cut off the curly tails of newly born piglets, without anesthesia, to ensure that they won’t bite them off due to crowded living conditions. Another utensil cuts the tips of turkey beaks to prevent obsessive feather pecking which only occurs in distressful conditions.
Other tools include various electric prodders, anti-suckling collars and nose rings, castration forceps, and the list goes on. Which takes us to The Lives of Others. Here, Timo Stammberger shows how animals live in industrialized farms; places where the hunger for bigger profits surpasses the need to improve animal welfare. Crowded stalls where sows can’t move as they feed piglets; painful sores and open wounds created by contact with filthy floors; dark rooms without natural light; and piglets huddled together for warmth under a lamp. Every image tells a heartbreaking story but also sheds a light on the inhumane conditions found in many farms around the world. Photography Shines a Light on the Animal Industry. Photography© Timo Stammberger.