Uk: Animal Organisation (Animal Aid) Undercover Animal Abuse Video Footage Forces Closure of English Slaughterhouse

SAV Comment:

Congratulations to Andrew, Kate and the crew at Kent based Animal Aid.  Excellent undercover work and quite rightly, this hell hole for animals now resigned to the scrap heap.

Go veggie, Go vegan, and cut out the animal abuse !

WARNING – The ‘More Information’ links given below show some of the undercover footage taken as part of this investigation.



Essex slaughterhouse exposé finds ‘unbearable cruelty and suffering’

Posted 27 June 2010

Animal Aid has today released footage taken secretly inside an Essex slaughterhouse that kills pigs. The film, which was shot over three days in April, shows scenes of extreme and deliberately-inflicted suffering, including use of electric tongs on animals’ snouts, tails and their open mouths. It was shot at A & G Barber’s abattoir in Purleigh, and is the seventh ‘red meat’ abattoir that the national campaign group has secretly filmed since January 2009. The Barber’s footage is the most shocking of all.

The Food Standards Agency has confirmed that one man has had his slaughter licence permanently revoked, and that both he and his employer are being investigated with a view to a prosecution.

Among the scenes filmed were:

  • Incompetent and inadequate stunning for almost every one of the 767 pigs filmed
  • Stunned pigs left to regain consciousness
  • The application of electric stunning tongs to snouts, ears and tails to encourage the animals to move or out of apparent malice
  • The use of electric stunning tongs around the bodies of animals, which does not stun but delivers instead a painful electric shock
  • Pigs being routinely kicked in the face
  • Pigs being hit in the face with shackle hooks, in one case, drawing blood

This is the seventh red meat slaughterhouse that Animal Aid has secretly filmed during the past 18 months, and the sixth where legal breaches have been recorded. As a result of this ongoing investigation, nine men from five slaughterhouses have been either suspended or have had their slaughter licences permanently revoked. Additionally, legal action has been taken or is underway against all nine men and also against four of the slaughterhouse operators.

Says Animal Aid Head of Campaigns, Kate Fowler:

‘The suffering inflicted on pigs at A & G Barber’s is unbearable to watch. That these vulnerable animals are forced to endure terrible and deliberate cruelty while the slaughterer mocks their plight is absolutely shocking.

‘The system has failed to protect these animals from violence, and our investigations indicate that breaches of animal welfare laws are widespread and commonplace. Our campaign to have CCTV installed in all slaughterhouses – which now has the support of the Food Standards Agency – would help ensure best practice and provide evidence for prosecutions but it will never end the suffering. The only way to do that is to choose meat-free foods.’


More information:

Notes for Editors:

Since Animal Aid first released footage in August 2009, we have been calling for CCTV to be installed in all slaughterhouses to help vets monitor the stunning and slaughter process, to encourage best practice, to help with training and retraining and to provide evidence. We called for CCTV to be installed because it is clear from our investigations that the current monitoring system is inadequate and that many legal breaches and examples of bad practice are going undetected by vets.

We are now supported in this aim by the RSPCA, Compassion in World Farming, the Soil Association (which has given accreditation to two of the abattoirs we filmed) and – most importantly – the government’s Food Standards Agency (FSA).

The footage from our cameras is being used by Bristol University to help train abattoir vets and Soil Association inspectors, and by the FSA as evidence for prosecutions.

Additional slaughterhouse failings that Animal Aid aims to change include the poor provision of training for slaughterers, and the currently meaningless ‘fit and proper person’ test. Details on these can be found here:


 Slaughterhouse accused of ‘unbearable cruelty’ closes

19 August 2010 | By Alistair Driver

AN Essex slaughterhouse has been forced to close after secret filming inside it by animal welfare campaigners led to allegations of serious cruelty towards pigs.

A and G Barber, of Purleigh, used to kill a quarter of all cull sows in the UK. Its main buyer, said to be a German sausage manufacturer, cancelled its contract after viewing the footage, forcing the abattoir to close.

The abattoir was one of a number exposed in secret filming by Animal Aid earlier this year. The animal welfare group said the film, shot over three days in April, showed scenes of ‘extreme and deliberately-inflicted suffering’, including use of electric tongs on animals’ snouts, tails and in their mouths.

It said other breaches filmed include ‘incompetent and inadequate stunning’ for most of the 767 pigs filmed, stunned pigs left to regain consciousness, and pigs being routinely kicked in the face and hit in the face with shackle hooks.

One worker and the slaughterhouse operator still face prosecution.

Kate Fowler, Animal Aid’s head of campaign, criticised the failure of the regulatory system to pick up the abuses at an abattoir where veterinary inspectors were in attendance.

“It is appalling that the cruelties meted out to animals at A&G Barber were allowed to continue and that all regulatory systems failed to detect and stop the abuses,” she said.

“If Animal Aid hadn’t happened to film at the plant, we believe that workers would still be kicking, beating and causing deliberate suffering to pigs there. It is right and proper that companies who have seen our film shunned A&G Barber.”

Animal Aid has covertly filmed inside seven randomly chosen red meat slaughterhouses since January 2009. In six of the seven, it claims to have recorded ‘breaches of animal welfare laws and avoidable animal suffering’.

A Government-industry group formed by the Veterinary Public Health Association (VPHA) to address issues raised by the filming has proposed changes to the way staff are monitored in abattoirs.

The group fell short of accepting calls by Animal Aid and other campaigners for compulsory CCTV in abattoirs.

But it agreed that plant operators and Official Veterinarians must have effective procedures in place either to constantly monitor stunning and slaughter operations, or to enable them to ‘inconspicuously observe’ them ‘at any time’.

These arrangements may include an aperture or window into the stunning area or the use of CCTV, the group agreed.

The organisations represented, include various meat trade bodies, Defra, the Food Standards Agency and the Humane Slaughter Association (HSA), with the British Veterinary Association observing.

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