Halal abattoir closes amid animal abuse allegations

By Lynda Searby

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Animal rights

A still from Animal Action's footage from Bowood Farms courtesy of The Business Desk.com
A still from Animal Action's footage from Bowood Farms courtesy of The Business Desk.com
The halal abattoir at the centre of animal cruelty allegations has gone into administration.

Bowood Farms in Thirsk, Yorkshire, which was the subject of an Animal Aid exposé after undercover filming revealed brutal treatment of sheep, called in administrator Leonard Curtis on August 5.

A statement on the business recovery firm’s website said that “the company had ceased to trade and all employees have subsequently been made redundant”.

Cruelty exposé

But Norman Bagley, policy director of the Association of Independent Meat Suppliers (AIMS), doesn’t believe that the failure of Bowood Farms as a business was linked to the cruelty exposé.

“The closure is not a direct result of this ​– it is about two people coming into a business they knew nothing at all about,”​ he told FoodManufacture.co.uk.

“Owning and running a large abattoir ​– especially in the highly competitive export market ​– is no place for the faint hearted. This again demonstrates that only the most efficient plants and experienced operators survive in this difficult business.”

Kicked in the face

The news of Bowood Farms’s closure came six months after the release of footage filmed secretly by Animal Aid inside the abattoir. The animal rights group’s cameras filmed animals being kicked in the face; smashed into solid objects headfirst and picked up and hurled by their legs, fleeces, throats and ears.

The video was handed over to the Food Standards Agency (FSA), which launched an investigation, with a view to prosecuting the individuals involved.

An FSA spokesman told FoodManufacture.co.uk on Friday [August 14]: “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.”

He confirmed the investigation was nearing completion and that a file would be submitted for consideration shortly.

Case for CCTV

Animal Aid director Andrew Tyler said the lesson to be taken from this case was that CCTV, with genuinely independent monitoring of footage, was “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,”​ he said.

Bowood Farms was the tenth abattoir in which Animal Aid has filmed since January 2009. A&G Barber, which used to slaughter a quarter of all cull sows in the UK, was forced to permanently close in August 2010 after Animal Aid filmed pigs being brutalised with electric tongs and subjected to other abuse.

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