Protesters from pressure group Direct Action Everywhere (DAE) claimed their presence at Karro Food Group’s Cookstown, County Tyrone facility on December 10 had shut down production at the site.
However, a spokesman for Karro said processing was not planned on the Saturday, “irrespective of the protest taking place”.
About 20 DAE members attended the peaceful protest, holding signs with messages such as: “It’s not food, it’s violence” and “slaughter is never humane”.
Members from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) were dispatched to keep the peace at the site.
Keep the peace
Inspector Danny Kennedy said the PSNI was there to ensure the DAE peacefully protested and ensure protesters did not interfere with Karro’s staff or its deliveries.
Karro added: “[The company] respects the rights to peaceful protests of both organised groups and individuals.
“Karro is well-known for championing ethical and welfare standards within UK farming and our priority is always the humane treatment of all our animals; indeed, it’s at the heart of our operation.”
The company said it adhered to strict animal welfare schemes, including abiding by governance around pig procurement, transportation of live animals, animal handling staff and monitoring throughout the process.
Animal welfare schemes
Protest organiser Clifford Grant told FoodManufacture.co.uk DAE was at Karro to make consumers aware what happens inside a pig production facility.
“When people go into a supermarket and they buy a wee pink packet all nicely packaged up, they don't actually think about the being that has been killed so they can have that,” said Grant.
“We wanted to make the people of Northern Ireland aware that this happens right on their doorstep. We believe that all living beings have a ‘right’ to live their lives free from exploitation, victimisation and cruelty.”
Karro Food Group processes about 45,000 pigs each week for delivery to the UK’s major supermarkets and wholesalers. Its Cookstown factory slaughters and processes about 1.3M pigs each year.
The company produces gammon, bacon, fresh pork, cooked meats and frozen sausages.