to Animal Cruelty Exposed in Covert Film
from the Food Standards Agency, Animal Aid and The Association of Independent
Meat Suppliers give their responses
Tim Smith, Chief Executive,
Food Standards Agency:
FSA takes its animal welfare responsibilities seriously and I have recently
met with Animal Aid to discuss their concerns. However the scale of GB meat
production means that FSA staff cannot watch the slaughter of every animal.
vast majority of slaughterhouses in GB are fully compliant with their animal
welfare legal requirements but there should be no exceptions.
slaughtermen we have suspended performed their duties satisfactorily when
watched by an FSA vet, but the footage shows some appalling actions when
they are not being observed. The solution would seem to lie in more observation,
whether by management in person, CCTV or additional FSA vets or inspectors.
CCTV is a good option as there is often limited space in the stunning pen.
legislation does not require slaughterhouse operators to install CCTV, but
the FSA does support its use in abattoirs. We are working with the meat
industry to encourage voluntary CCTV installation as best practice and we
would encourage retailers to consider whether they should make it a requirement
of their suppliers.
will continue to demand a zero tolerance to animal cruelty in the meat industry.”
Tyler, director of Animal Aid, which exposed the abuses of animals in a
series of abattoirs
six out of seven randomly selected UK abattoirs, Animal Aid filmed examples
of welfare breaches, incompetence and even sadistic cruelty. This has resulted
in several workers being suspended and a number of prosecutions being prepared.
We did not film for weeks in these establishments before encountering problems,
but for an average of two or three days. In some abattoirs, the cruel and
incompetent behaviour was constant and extremely painful to observe.
scale and nature of evidence we have collected demonstrates that these problems
are endemic within the industry, a point acknowledged to us in high level
meetings we’ve had with senior veterinary and food regulatory officials.
It is head-in-the-sand escapism for industry elements to blithely pretend
that there are not deep-seated problems.
we are wholly confident that our investigative methods – which involve
no law breaking, property damage, let alone threats or violence –
were proportionate and in the public interest. We have put before the public
the shocking reality of so-called humane slaughter. The introduction of
CCTV would be a considerable advance. But whatever systems are put in place,
slaughter will remain a violent and traumatic experience for animals. There
never can be such a thing as “humane slaughter”. That is why
we urge people to adopt an animal-free diet."
Lomax, technical advisor, Association of Independent Meat Suppliers, which
represents around 180 British abattoirs
meat industry is grateful to Animal Aid for bringing to public attention
problems that FSA Official Veterinary Surgeons have failed to identify.
Readers of the Sunday Times might be surprised to know that these abuses
have occurred despite the continuous, full time supervision of all abattoirs
by FSA veterinary surgeons.
"Official Veterinarians had identified no problems with welfare in
any of these plants and the proprietors thus relied on FSA that welfare
was excellent, which was not in reality the case.
abattoirs are the only businesses in the world subject to continuous official
supervision, in contrast patently more hazardous activities such as the
processing of nuclear fuel. However, this delivers little or no benefit
to the tax payer and operators who share the huge costs. The reason is the
very low calibre of Official Veterinarians. Almost all are new graduates,
without any clinical experience, from other EU member states, who speak
English only as a second language and are appallingly paid, often little
more than minimum wage.
demands more effective regulation on which our businesses can rely. Spot
checks by experienced and professionally paid veterinarians, ideally UK
practitioners with appropriate experience of agriculture and animal welfare,
are the answer. The Food Standards Agency has allowed costs and bureaucracy
to run out of control without delivering and has failed completely. A combination
of the best of the private sector with the experience of DEFRA veterinary
surgeons to provide independent audit is the way forward.
system of full time FSA supervision at huge cost which has nevertheless
failed to notice the events recorded by Animal Aid should not be permitted