An article on www.meatinfo.co.uk reports that Animal Aid has announced it has obtained further footage of alleged cruelty, this time against birds in an organic and free-range poultry farm in Devon. The animal rights organisation filmed secret footage on two occasions in November and December 2009 at Otter Valley Poultry where it has alleged cruelty towards chickens.
A statement read: “The condition of the chickens was especially worrying. Several of the birds were so badly crippled that they were unable to stand. In addition, three dead turkeys were found in a shed with live birds, and three dead pigs were so badly decomposed that their original forms were barely recognisable.”
Animal Aid head of campaigns Kate Fowler said: “We believe that the gap between public expectations for organic poultry and what we filmed at this Devon farm and slaughterhouse is immense. The footage is distressing in terms of animal welfare and it also raises public health questions.”
This latest animal abuse revelation comes only a few days after three slaughter workers were suspended following a similar investigation of the slaughter of larger animals at another Soil Association approved abattoir, this time in Ashburton.
The This is Devon site reported on December 17th saying “An Ashburton abattoir could face prosecution and has had three of its slaughtermen suspended after an undercover investigation by an animal rights pressure group. The three employees were recorded on film by a covert camera at Tom Lang Ltd, Gages Farm, Buckfastleigh Road, by Animal Aid between October 19 and November 3 slaughtering sheep and pigs.”
The national campaign group claims its film shows livestock being ‘kicked, slapped, thrown and improperly stunned at the Soil Association-approved abattoir’. Steve McGrath, chief executive of the Meat Hygiene Service, said the Government body had ‘acted quickly’ when Animal Aid provided them with footage filmed at the slaughterhouse.
“We suspended three slaughterers immediately and evidence to support a potential prosecution of the slaughterhouse operator and slaughterers is being collated,” added Mr McGrath. The hygiene inspectors have installed a raft of measures since. Senior vets have visited the abattoir and additional staff have been installed on a temporary basis in the slaughterhouse to ‘ensure standards of slaughtering are acceptable’.
Andrew Tyler, director of Animal Aid, said: “Just because pigs and sheep aren’t kept as pets, it doesn’t mean they don’t suffer like dogs and cats. The slaughterhouse environment they can sense is a very bad place for them to be. If, in addition, they are treated callously in the process of being killed, it is a nightmare for them. You can see the distress in the footage. I think it is for people who do eat meat to take a look at this footage and make a judgement as to whether it is fair that animals should be treated in this fashion. We think it is thoroughly immoral.”
Image above by Michael Timney | Slaughterhouse The Task of Blood (2005)