WARNING: This report contains graphic images
A halal slaughterhouse where workers were secretly filmed abusing animals has reportedly gone into administration, six months after the footage was recorded.
Animal Aid's undercover recording in December showed employees at Bowood Yorkshire Lamb in Thirsk, North Yorkshire, kicking animals in the face, smashing them into solid objects head first and throwing them around the abattoir.
The law requires abattoirs to stun animals before slaughter to prevent unnecessary suffering, but there are exemptions for Jewish and Muslim producers.
Under the halal code, animals are supposed to be killed quickly, with a single sweep of a surgically-sharp knife. They should not see the knife before they are slaughtered, or witness the death of other animals.
Footage appears to show Bowood workers abusing sheep
The footage, released in February, caused a public outcry and the animal rights group handed its evidence to the Food Standards Agency, who are considering putting the case to the Crown Prosecution Service.
Andrew Tyler, Animal Aid director, said: "The lesson of Bowood, and the secret filming that Animal Aid has been undertaking since 2009, is that CCTV, with proper independent monitoring of footage, is an absolute priority for all UK slaughterhouses. The regulatory and political authorities have delayed for too long.
"The comprehensive evidence we have presented makes clear that cameras will have a significantly beneficial effect. There must be no further delay in requiring their mandatory installation."
Animal Aid said that Bowood was the tenth slaughter establishment that the charity filmed since January 2009 and was the first to practise non-stun halal slaughter.
In all but one of the other establishments, Animal Aid filmed illegal cruelty or incompetence, including animals being kicked, punched, burnt with cigarettes and brutalised with electrical stunning tongs.
The footage appears to show:
- A worker hacking and sawing at animals' throats, in direct contravention of Islamic practice. In one instance it took up to five attempts to sever blood vessels.
- Sheep being kicked in the face and head, lifted by their ears, fleeces or legs, and hurled into solid structures.
- A worker standing on the neck of a conscious sheep and bouncing up and down.
- Staff erupting into laughter over a sheep bleeding to death with spectacles drawn around her eyes in green paint.
- Staff taunting and frightening animals by waving knives, smacking them on the head and shouting at them.
- A worker holding a sheep by the throat and pulling back his fist as if to deliver a punch.
A spokesman for the FSA said in a statement: ‘We are in the process of completing a full investigation into the circumstances of this incident with a view to referring the case to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), who will consider whether there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest for the case to be prosecuted."
Animal aid said the footage of the slaughterhouse revealed "a systemic top-to-bottom failure" .
The charity said that it was "determined" the announcement of Bowood going into administration will not mean that those connected with the footage avoid facing justice in a court of law.
No one at Bowood Yorkshire Lamb was available for comment at this story went live.
WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES BELOW