In its latest investigation, leading animal protection organisation Animal Aid placed hidden cameras in the stunning quarters of N Bramall & Sons near Sheffield over four days in mid-October. On its online shop, Eat Great Meat, the company tells customers that animals have “been reared in an ethical and traditional manner”. Customers would no doubt expect slaughter to be “humane” too. However, covert footage obtained from the premises shows nightmarish scenes faced by animals on death row.
In one clip a severely distressed water buffalo fights for his life, by desperately attempting to jump out of a restraint box after witnessing other animals being slaughtered. Fearful sheep are documented running in circles to evade being stunned and in another incident slaughtermen are seen laughing as an animal is twitching on the floor, having just been shot. At one point the udder of a spent dairy cow explodes. On two occasions already-dead cows are brought into the slaughterhouse on a forklift truck – their bodies were butchered and entered the food chain.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA), which regulates animal welfare in slaughterhouses, has confirmed there have been breaches of legislation at N Bramall & Sons. The organisation has since come out in favour of CCTV being made mandatory for slaughterhouses, with its Chair Heather Hancock informing the Farmers Guardian that the ‘case is made’. A cross-party representation of MPs has also thrown their support behind a change in the law. George Eustice, Minister of State for DEFRA, has, however, failed to bring forward any commitment, despite lawbreaking now being documented in 10 out of 11 abattoirs investigated by Animal Aid.
Says Farming and Slaughter Campaigns Manager, Luke Steele:
‘Animal Aid’s latest investigation inside a UK slaughterhouse has yet again uncovered clear evidence of law-breaking and appalling animal suffering. There is no doubt that unlawful cruelty continues to be an inherent problem in abattoirs.
‘We simply say to George Eustice: how many more animals will have to suffer like this until you introduce mandatory, independently monitored CCTV in slaughterhouses?’
Says MP for Penistone & Stockbridge, Angela Smith:
‘The support for compulsory CCTV is being strengthened by yet more footage showing bad practice which is detrimental to animal welfare and also threatens public health. Distrust in abattoirs is growing and greater transparency is desperately needed. I would support compulsory CCTV but I would also say that abattoirs who are following legal processes and do not have anything to hide should install CCTV as a matter of voluntary good practice so that they do not lose trust and we can identify who the bad ones are that try to hide away. The public on the whole do not want to see animals treated in this way and the industry’s reputation will be damaged.’
Says Conservative MP for Crawley, Henry Smith:
‘I believe a strong case for compulsory CCTV in all abattoirs exists and this unacceptable additional footage once again supports that case. I have supported the Animal Aid campaign and have led a number of debates in Parliament requesting the Government consider this.
‘Clearly there are a concerning number of cases of abuse and bad practice which need to be stopped so that the public can be assured that abattoirs work to high standards. If they have nothing to hide the abattoirs should start to install CCTV as good practice. I will continue to push for this and believe I have the support of the majority of the public..’
Notes for editors
- Broadcast-quality footage and print-quality photographs are available on request.
- Animal Aid conducted undercover filming at N Bramall & Sons, Near Coates Farm, Barnsley Road, Sheffield, S36 8YB, over four days between 19-20 October and 27-28 October 2016 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.