Incompetence and chaos in Welsh slaughterhouse: Animal Aid investigates

Posted on the 23rd September 2019

The Welsh Government has so far refused to make CCTV compulsory for slaughterhouses in Wales, despite it being law in England and being proposed for Scotland.

Farmers Fresh: worker throwing sheep by her fleeceAnimal Aid’s undercover investigators have revealed the truth behind their closed doors. We captured footage of incompetence and chaos at Farmers Fresh slaughterhouse, North Wales.

In one particularly harrowing scene, we witness a worker fail to properly stun a sheep, who surges forward onto the cutting table. Two workers then pin the struggling sheep down and cut her throat, whilst she appears to be fully conscious.

Staff try to round up bewildered sheep using brute force against these timid creatures.

They are kneed, and slapped, even picked up and thrown onto the conveyor.

Farmers Fresh: sheep on conveyor belt on her backSeveral sheep are loaded backwards and upside down. Sheep are also sometimes seen dragged back down the conveyor by their hind legs.

One sheep who is separated from the others, bleating in distress, panics and jumps back towards the gate from where she came, smashing her head through it, only to tumble to the ground. All of this went unnoticed by a staff member who was speaking on his mobile phone at the time.

Failures

According to a recent FSA (Food Standards Agency) audit report, this slaughterhouse is failing, in the areas of animal welfare, animal health and hygiene.

Animal Aid campaigned for almost a decade to see mandatory, independently monitored CCTV installed in slaughterhouses.

Mandatory CCTV was finally made law in England in 2018, although independent monitoring is not yet compulsory. Earlier this year, the Scottish Government announced that it would also make CCTV mandatory for slaughterhouses in Scotland.

The Welsh government has previously said that there has not been evidence of serious legal breaches and cruelty inside Welsh slaughterhouses. Now, our groundbreaking filming shows otherwise.

This is the 16th slaughterhouse Animal Aid has investigated. One disturbing aspect of what we have uncovered, is the very fast pace at which the sheep are ‘processed’, with an animal being stunned on average every 10 – 12 seconds. This combined with brutal treatment and what we believe are serious management failings means a terrifying and traumatic experience for the sheep being ‘processed’, and ultimately killed.

Farmers Fresh investigation: two sheep huddling together

Instinctively Protective
Sheep can become distressed when separated from other members of the flock and will try to congregate close together. It is hardly surprising then, that our footage shows two distressed sheep, who remain alone in the holding pen. They appear to be protecting each other by putting themselves between the other sheep and the member of staff. At one point the member of staff is seen trying to separate them. Even when on the conveyor belt, they huddle together.

Help us stop this

Animal Aid is asking the Welsh Government to join England and Scotland, by making CCTV mandatory in its slaughterhouses. This may help to stop some of the behaviour we have seen during our investigation, which shows a shocking lack of respect for living, sentient beings.

Please donate now

But slaughter can never be cruelty-free and it is not possible to kill animals ‘humanely’, as they want to live, just like the rest of us.

The best way to help animals is to go vegan.

Kind regards,

Isobel Hutchinson
Director

P.S. As soon as we finished filming we handed our footage promptly to the FSA and we understand that they are investigating.

Make a donation now

Your donation will help to equip our undercover team, keeping them safe and continuing this essential part of our work.

The equipment used in our undercover operations includes items such as £1.50 disposable overalls, which are worn by investigators to avoid any contamination, and £35 battery packs for cameras to ensure that they keep working once placed.

£70 could pay for memory cards, which we do not re-use, as we keep these to provide evidence in any future court case.

Please donate now

Thank you so much!

Please join us in calling upon the Welsh Government to make CCTV mandatory.

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copyright Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals