UK animal advocacy organization Animal Aid published “its full investigation into UK slaughterhouses” last week, describing “the ‘utter horror’ of slaughter in so-called ‘humane’ British abattoirs.”
“The cruelty on show is the worst I have seen,” wrote Chief Executive of the Food Standards Agency Tim Smith.
For the study:
Animal Aid visited seven randomly chosen ‘red meat’ slaughterhouses in seven counties over an 18-month period, planting fly-on-the-wall cameras in each for between two and five days. The resulting films revealed widespread cruelty, terrified animals struggling to escape and many serious breaches of animal welfare laws, despite the presence of government-appointed vets whose job is to ensure welfare in slaughterhouses.
Sounds gruesome and I don’t think I want to see the videos.
If you have the stomach for it, here are some of “the many distressing scenes filmed” by Animal Aid:
- Animals being kicked in the face, slapped, stamped on, picked up by fleeces and ears, and forcibly thrown across or into stunning pens
- Animals screaming and struggling to escape
- Animals going to the knife without adequate stunning
- Animals stunned and then allowed to come round again
- Electric tongs used maliciously on the snout, ear, tail, body and open mouth of pigs, resulting in the animals suffering painful electric shocks
- Ewes being stunned while a lamb suckled them
- A sheep too sick to stand – or possibly already dead – being brought to slaughter in a wheelbarrow
- A pig bleeding after being deliberately hit in the face with a shackle hook
- Improperly stunned animals being stood on to keep them still while shackles were attached
- Animals being decapitated before the appropriate statutory time had elapsed, and while the animals may still have been alive
- Long periods elapsing between electrical stunning and ‘sticking’ (throat cutting), which increases the likelihood that animals regain consciousness
One action step to address such horrors is to have CCTV cameras installed in all UK slaughterhouses, something the organization has been pushing for for awhile. The organization also recommends:
- Independent training and regular retraining of slaughterers
- Fixed criteria for what constitutes a ‘fit and proper’ person to slaughter
- Full responsibility for welfare to be moved to the Food Standards Agency
To read the full report, head on over to Animal Aid.
Photo Credit: shahin ghaffari via flickr (CC license)