Kent slaughterhouse could face prosecution following covert filming

Posted on the 9th August 2017

Forge Farm Meats in Tunbridge Wells faced prosecution, following covert filming by Animal Aid.

Animal Aid, placed hidden cameras inside Forge Farm slaughterhouse for three days in April and May 2017. The footage captured both the stunning and slaughter of animals.

We revealed serious cause for concern over the way animals were treated. This included the method used to stun animals.

A rundown of what our covert cameras detected:

  • Deliberate abuse. One animal was smacked in the face and sworn at.
  • Incompetent stunning of animals. They suspect that many animals may have simply received painful electric shocks and gone to the knife fully conscious.
  • Disregard for the welfare of animals, with slaughterhouse workers sometimes standing on the backs of animals, a sheep being thrown to the floor and a sheep being dragged along by her fleece.
  • One animal fell from the kill line and was simply hung back up on the line without being re-stunned. She appeared to be blinking, a sign of consciousness.
  • A sheep brought into the slaughterhouse in a wheelbarrow. We suspect that she must have been too sick or lame to walk.

Forge Farm Meats in Tunbridge Wells was the 14th slaughterhouse that Animal Aid investigated since 2009. In May, the organisation released a damning dossier of evidence entitled Britain’s Failing Slaughterhouses, which provided a catalogue of the illegal abuse that had been filmed to date. It revealed that 93 per cent of slaughterhouses investigated by Animal Aid and others had been breaking animal welfare laws.

Says Isobel Hutchinson, Director of Animal Aid:

‘Yet again, Animal Aid investigators have shone a light on the brutal reality of what goes on inside UK slaughterhouses. We very much hope that Forge Farm will be brought to justice, and welcome any action that the regulators take in order to achieve this.

This latest investigation adds to the already overwhelming evidence of the need for mandatory, independently monitored CCTV in all slaughterhouses. We call on the government to bring forward a change in the law, as promised in the recent Conservative Party manifesto. This simple measure would go a long way in protecting vulnerable animals from both bad practice and deliberate violence.’

The Outcome

The damning footage was processed and promptly handed over to the Food Standards Agency (FSA), the body that regulates slaughterhouses, for further investigation. The case was referred up to the Crown Prosecution Service before being finally being brought to court. The case was heard from 20 January at Sevenoaks Magistrates Court. Sadly, the judge decided not to proceed with the case and refused to admit the evidence.

Notes for editors:

  • Animal Aid conducted undercover filming at Forge Farm Meats Ltd, Powder Mill Lane, Southborough, Tunbridge Wells, TN4 9EG, over three days between 12 April and 15 May 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.
  • Read Britains Failing Slaughterhouses.

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