Animal Aid has filmed inside sixteen British slaughterhouses, finding evidence of lawbreaking in most of them.

Slaughterhouse Suffering

Since 2009, Animal Aid has filmed secretly inside a number of British slaughterhouses. We found evidence of lawbreaking nearly all of them. The problems are serious and widespread. Our films revealed animals being kicked, slapped, stamped on, picked up by fleeces and ears and thrown into stunning pens. We recorded animals being improperly stunned and going to the knife while still conscious. We filmed animals deliberately and illegally beaten, pigs burned with cigarettes and workers hacking at the throats of conscious sheep. Even where no laws were broken, animals still suffered pain and fear. And ‘high welfare’ plants, such as those accredited by the Soil Association and Freedom Food (now known as RSPCA Assured), were no better than the standard ones, and were guilty of breaches of the welfare laws. Animal Aid believes that whether ‘conventional’, organic, kosher or halal, all slaughter is unnecessary and immoral, and the only way to prevent such suffering is to go vegan.

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Campaign Achievements

  • A group of Welsh Assembly Petition Committee members agree that all slaughterhouses in Wales should have to install CCTV cameras in line with moves in England and Scotland. They recently issued a report in response to an Animal Aid petition that presents ample evidence of the need for mandatory CCTV. Lesley Griffiths the welsh Minister responsible for overseeing this area, says she accepts mandatory CCTV in principle.
  • Our covert cameras capture appalling scenes of slaughterhouse incompetence and chaos at Farmers Fresh, Wales. This is our sixteenth slaughterhouse investigation and the first in Wales (2nd September 2019). We reveal that the situation really is no different for Wales.
  • Good news, Scotland! Plans for mandatory CCTV in all Scottish abattoirs have been announced (9th January 2019) secondary legislation is expected to be brought in 2021. Whilst this is a frustratingly long time, we are grateful that it has not been dropped altogether.
  • Good news, England! Legislation requiring mandatory CCTV in all slaughterhouses in England came into force on 4thMay 2018. Further detail is available on the government website:
  • News update, Scotland. Animal Aid responded to the government consultation for mandatory CCTV for all Scottish slaughterhouses. We also published guidance notes to help supporters to do the same. (Animal welfare is a devolved issue, so the governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have to implement CCTV themselves, Parliament in Westminster cannot impose it.)
  • News update, Wales. Lesley Griffiths Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs announces announces £1.1 million Food Business Investment scheme package of grant aid for small and medium sized slaughterhouses. Aimed at helping ensure ‘Welfare friendly infrastructure and facilities will be supported and also the installation and upgrading of CCTV monitoring systems.’ Wednesday 21st March.
  • Animal Aid responded to the government consultation for mandatory CCTV for all English slaughterhouses which opened on the 11thAugust, 2017. We also published guidance notes to help supporters to do the same.
  • Two men were jailed for cruelty to animals at Cheale Meats after they beat and burned pigs.
  • Our campaign for CCTV to be installed in slaughterhouses has been accepted by the supermarkets. The ten largest – Morrisons, Waitrose, the Co-op, Sainsbury’s, Aldi, Tesco, Lidl, Asda, Marks & Spencer and Iceland – along with wholesalers Booker, have now agreed to deal only with slaughterhouses that have independently monitored CCTV cameras installed.
  • Essex slaughterhouse A&G Barber Ltd closed down when its customers saw, through our secretly-filmed footage, how bad conditions were.
  • Three UK political parties have adopted mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses as a policy or included it in election manifestos.
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Campaign History

The campaign to reveal what takes place behind closed doors in British abattoirs began in January 2009 when we planted fly-on-the-wall cameras in JV Richards, a Cornish slaughterhouse. This was quickly followed by investigations at AC Hopkins in Somerset and Pickstock in Derbyshire.

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Campaign news

General Election 2024: What’s next for animals?

This morning, people all over the country will be waking up to a new government with Labour winning a landslide majority in yesterday’s General Election (July 4). But what does this mean for animals?

Posted 05 Jul 2024