Slaughterhouse accused of 'unbearable cruelty' closes

AN Essex slaughterhouse has been forced to close after secret filming inside it by animal welfare campaigners led to allegations of serious cruelty towards pigs.

A and G Barber, of Purleigh, used to kill a quarter of all cull sows in the UK. Its main buyer, said to be a German sausage manufacturer, cancelled its contract after viewing the footage, forcing the abattoir to close.

The abattoir was one of a number exposed in secret filming by Animal Aid earlier this year. The animal welfare group said the film, shot over three days in April, showed scenes of ‘extreme and deliberately-inflicted suffering’, including use of electric tongs on animals’ snouts, tails and in their mouths.

It said other breaches filmed include ‘incompetent and inadequate stunning’ for most of the 767 pigs filmed, stunned pigs left to regain consciousness, and pigs being routinely kicked in the face and hit in the face with shackle hooks.

One worker and the slaughterhouse operator still face prosecution.

Kate Fowler, Animal Aid’s head of campaign, criticised the failure of the regulatory system to pick up the abuses at an abattoir where veterinary inspectors were in attendance.

“It is appalling that the cruelties meted out to animals at A&G Barber were allowed to continue and that all regulatory systems failed to detect and stop the abuses,” she said.

“If Animal Aid hadn’t happened to film at the plant, we believe that workers would still be kicking, beating and causing deliberate suffering to pigs there. It is right and proper that companies who have seen our film shunned A&G Barber.”

Animal Aid has covertly filmed inside seven randomly chosen red meat slaughterhouses since January 2009. In six of the seven, it claims to have recorded ‘breaches of animal welfare laws and avoidable animal suffering’.

A Government-industry group formed by the Veterinary Public Health Association (VPHA) to address issues raised by the filming has proposed changes to the way staff are monitored in abattoirs.

The group fell short of accepting calls by Animal Aid and other campaigners for compulsory CCTV in abattoirs.

But it agreed that plant operators and Official Veterinarians must have effective procedures in place either to constantly monitor stunning and slaughter operations, or to enable them to ‘inconspicuously observe’ them ‘at any time’.

These arrangements may include an aperture or window into the stunning area or the use of CCTV, the group agreed.

The organisations represented, include various meat trade bodies, Defra, the Food Standards Agency and the Humane Slaughter Association (HSA), with the British Veterinary Association observing.

Readers' comments (33)

  • I think it is disgusting that this goes on in the UK all animals if they are to be slaughter should be done humanely and with no pain to the animal. There should be cctv installed, all animals should not have to suffer so people can eat meat!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • There is no such thing as humane slaughter. Do you think this is an isolated case?" Get real.You know what you are supporting when you eat animals. Go Vegan

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • if slaughter houses had glass walls this wouldnt happen in fact there wouldnt be slaughter houses at all . the people in question should be named and shamed .

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • If someone can deliberately cause suffering to an animal they are capable of same to humans. Such sick individuals should be prosecuted.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I'm never surprised but always saddened when I hear of abuse within the houses of slaughter. I believe that to murder an innocent, sentient being, the human responsible must have little or no respect for the life it's about to take. To me, then, it stands to reason that it will abuse the defenceless being. A civilisation can be judged by how well it treats its weakest members.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Everyone who eats meat must take responsibility for this. Sounds harsh...but it's true!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Ive been in abbotoirs and cruelty cases are always happening. it should all be filmed and showed after coronation street, because its you the meat eater thats paying for this, oh what was that , you dont want to see what goes on. but you want to eat it, SAD SAD SAD. hippocrites, hippocrites hippocrites,
    message to the animals, GOD BLESS YOU ALL.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • This exposure shows us just how disgusting the meat industry is. Thank goodness I had the sense to turn my back on this vile business thirty eight years ago. I am so much healthier for it.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The only way this suffering will end is to go vegan. Whilst this slaughterhouse may have been closed, this cruelty is going on all over the UK. Animals go to these places to be killed, it's never going to be a fluffy affair. Those who committed this cruelty will not suddenly become 'normal', they have been desensitised to the suffering. No public demand for animal products is the only way to prevent this level of abuse.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • As the saying goes, 'If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian'.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 per page | 20 per page | 50 per page

Have your say

Mandatory
Mandatory
Mandatory
Mandatory
Register your email address for Farmers Guardian e-bulletins

Get the latest from Farmers Guardian delivered straight to your inbox. Click here to sign-up today

Already receiving bulletins? Sign-in to edit your preferences