St Helen’s Farm investigates supplier after animal abuse claims

By James Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Secret filming at a supplier of St Helen's Farm revealed potential animal abuse
Secret filming at a supplier of St Helen's Farm revealed potential animal abuse

Related tags: Dairy

Claims of animal abuse at a supplier to goat’s milk producer St Helen’s Farm has sparked backlash from its customers, as supermarkets pulled its products from their shelves.

Footage passed to animal rights activist group Surge and seen on The Independent’s ​website purported to be secretly filmed at a supplier to St Helen’s in East Yorkshire. It showed goats being kicked, punched, hit by a pole and slammed onto their backs.

St Helen’s Farm’s goat’s milk products – including ice cream, butter and yogurts – are supplied to supermarkets across the country. However, several retailers have pulled these products from their shelves in response to the claims of animal abuse.

A Tesco spokesman said: “We require high animal-welfare standards from all brands sold at Tesco, so these claims are deeply concerning. We have immediately suspended supply while we investigate the matter further.”

Waitrose told Food Manufacture ​that it, too, had stopped the sale of St Helen’s Farm products in its stores, pending further investigation.

BRC welfare standards

A spokesman for the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said its members took their responsibilities to animal welfare very seriously and worked closely with trusted suppliers so that high welfare standards were upheld.

“They have strict processes in place and will thoroughly investigate any evidence of non-conformity to ensure that any problems are immediately addressed,”​ they added. “The BRC continues to support unannounced audits on farms to ensure compliance with all farm standards, particularly animal welfare.”

A St Helen’s spokesman confirmed with The Independent ​that the footage was taken at one of its supply farms and that it had cut off the supplier as soon as it learned of the abuse.

“Today, we have been made aware of allegations that one farm has infringed animal welfare standards, which we would find totally unacceptable if true,”​ it told the publication.

“We have immediately ceased all milk supply from this farm and launched a full investigation to determine the facts of this matter.”

Animal law experts

Surge contacted law firm Advocates for Animals to help identify potential incidents that could question St Helen’s adherence to regulatory codes and guidelines, including the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2010.

Commenting on the investigation, Surge co-director Ed Winters said: “St Helen’s is regarded as the best of the best when it comes to goat farming. However, that means nothing for the goats who are exploited and treated as objects.

“Contrary to the social media marketing that St Helen’s uses, these animals suffer immensely, their bodies thrown around, hit and discarded. Unfortunately for animals, St Helen’s really is as good as it gets, meaning that the only way we can avoid paying for animal cruelty, is to buy the plant-based alternative instead.”

Earlier this year, Egg supplier Hoads Farm refuted animal welfare allegations levelled against it by protestors,​ saying it operated “above and beyond”​ the high standards laid down by the British egg industry.

National media news reports showed the animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere had occupied the farm and published photos and videos that it claimed showed unsanitary conditions.

Related topics: Dairy, Operations

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7 comments

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St Helen’s ... bring the culprits/company to account

Posted by Tina Blacklock,

Any human being that is capable of inflicting such debilitating pain and suffering to another animal should be named, shamed, imprisoned for their crime and prohibited from ever working with ANY animals, in any environmental setting ever again. The companies who are not routinely checking that their employees are adhering to a humane code of conduct should be hugely fined and NEVER be permitted again to start or continue any business which involves animals. The money from the fine, which should Be significant and proportionate to the wealth of the company, should be given to those sanctuaries where the abused animals will live out their days.
Whilst court hearings, legal marathons are taking place the victims, in this case the goats, should be looked after and their care paid for by the alleged offenders, the company.
Maybe we should all be writing to our MP to get these goats rehomed NOW, they have suffered enough in their short, innocent lives.
We have to do something. Always remember, every animal suffers in silence: we are their voice!

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St Helen's

Posted by Siobhan McGann,

These poor innocent defenceless goats were on this farm purely for exploitation purposes. It's bad enough that they were forcibly bred but the way they were treated is repulsive. Animals like goats and cows are impregnated and then have their newborn babies taken from them so that the milk intended for them can be sold. If that's not bad enough, they are treated with unimaginable cruelty. Please don't make the mistake in thinking this is an isolated incident. Farms worldwide treat animals like this. Voiceless and defenceless, they have no way of protecting themselves from the cruelty and barbarity of the exploitative animal industry. These industries are run by big business conglomerates but need to be shut down, for the sake of animal welfare and human health. The future is plant based. Animals must no longer be treated like this. We need to evolve as a species and leave animals alone.

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Donna

Posted by Donna Garfield,

If this manufacturer truly cared about its animal WELFARE they would have ensured that this supplier was not ABUSING animals. To be 100% sure animals are not abused , people should make the switch that is to eat and follow a plant based diet.

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