Calls for tough action against cruelty in Stockport slaughterhouse

Undercover filming inside Cheshire Halal UK slaughterhouse in Stockport found a sheep being picked up by the fleece and thrown over a gate, alongside other instances of abuse and lawbreaking.

In the latest in a series of covert investigations, leading animal protection organisation Animal Aid placed hidden cameras inside the stunning and slaughter quarters of Cheshire Halal UK Limited, in Stockport, Greater Manchester, for three days in March. Government rules stipulate that slaughterhouses ‘must have appropriate systems in place to comply with legal requirements and achieve the required standards of animal welfare’. However, undercover filming at the North West slaughterhouse uncovered incidents that were in clear breach of the law.

A slaughterman is shown in one clip picking up a frightened sheep by her fleece and physically throwing her over a gate. The animal was so terrified that she attempted to escape through a blood gully, only to be discovered cowering behind the bleeding-out bodies of her strung-up peers. The slaughterman also attempted to subdue a frantic sheep by deliberately placing electrical stunning tongs around the animal’s abdomen. Other incidents caught on camera include a lamb, who was hiding behind a mechanical arm, being dragged out by the hind legs. One animal was pushed with such force that they were overturned and left in this situation for some time.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA), which regulates animal welfare in slaughterhouses, has acknowledged that there have been non-compliances with animal protection legislation captured on film at Cheshire Halal. However, it has merely recommended that those who inflicted cruelty on animals are provided with staff retraining, without providing any credible explanation. Animal Aid has firmly appealed for the Agency’s decision to be reconsidered, stating that the law has clearly been broken and the inexcusable actions of slaughtermen pass the necessary threshold to revoke individual licences.

Publication of the covert filming undertaken at Cheshire Halal UK Limited coincides with the release of Animal Aid’s shocking new report, ‘Britain’s Failing Slaughterhouses’, which sheds light on an ongoing abuse scandal in slaughterhouses across the country. The dossier includes details of how 14 out of 15 slaughterhouses investigated since 2009 have been found breaking animal protection laws. It calls on the government to crack down on cruelty by making independently-monitored CCTV mandatory in all abattoirs.

Says Luke Steele, Farming and Slaughter Campaigns Manager, Animal Aid:

‘Animal abuse uncovered by Animal Aid at the Stockport slaughterhouse, where a vulnerable sheep was picked up by the fleece and thrown over a gate, is clearly unlawful and inexcusable. With this being the 12th slaughterhouse where we have filmed workers deliberately abusing animals, it is clear that there is a cruelty scandal ongoing in British slaughterhouses and only tough action will suffice.

‘The Food Standards Agency must revoke the licence of the slaughtermen responsible at Cheshire Halal. Moreover, the government must take immediate action to make independently monitored CCTV mandatory for all slaughterhouses to crack down on this cruelty scandal.’

Broadcast-quality footage and print-quality photographs are available on request.

Notes for editors:

  • Animal Aid conducted undercover filming at Cheshire Halal UK Ltd, The Abattoir, 2 Higher Bury Street, Stockport, SK4 1BJ, over three days between 1 March and 28 March 2017 inclusive.
  • Animal Aid has a strict investigations policy which ensures adherence to biosecurity measures, obtaining access to premises without causing any damage to property and seeking to ensure that no stress is caused to animals at sites visited.
  • For further comments please contact Luke Steele, Farming and Slaughter Campaigns Manager, tel: + 44 (0) 1732 364546 ext. 233 or luke@animalaid.co.uk
Read the 'Britain's Failing Slaughterhouses' report