A Yorkshire HALAL slaughterhouse, whose brutal treatment of sheep was revealed through undercover filming by Animal Aid, is reported to have gone into administration.
An operative in Bowood Yorkshire Lamb slaughterhouse in Thirsk grabs a sheep by the neck
Launching the investigation in February, the agency stated there was “no excuse for treating animals in the way shown” on a covertly filmed video obtained by Animal Aid.
An international furore erupted and protests were held outside the abattoir after footage was released showing a worker hacking and sawing at animals’ throats, in direct contravention of Islamic practice, and in one instance it took up to five attempts to sever blood vessels.
Other footage included a 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, slaughtermen taunting and frightening the sheep by waving knives, smacking them on the head and shouting at them and staff erupting into laughter over a sheep bleeding to death with spectacles drawn around her eyes in green paint.
It is reasonable to assume that the behaviour revealed in the Bowood footage had almost certainly been going on for some time unchecked and probably would have continued if it were not for Animal Aid’s intervention. The brutality on display was not only shocking, it revealed a systemic top-to-bottom failure.
The films drew widespread condemnation as 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. After the footage was released, Bowood sacked four people identified as abusing animals in the video.
Bowood was the tenth slaughter establishment in which Animal Aid has filmed since January 2009. It was the first to practice non-stun halal slaughter. In all but one of the other so called ‘humane’ establishments, Animal Aid filmed illegal cruelty and or incompetence, including animals being kicked, punched, burnt with cigarettes and brutalised with electrical stunning tongs. Amongst the previous nine were establishments that were RSPCA or Soil Association approved.
Animal Aid is determined that the announcement of Bowood going into administration will not mean that the company, its management and employees, avoid facing justice in a court of law.