The BVA has challenged the Food Standards Agency to take further investigative action so DEFRA can consider prosecutions against the Essex abattoir accused of animal welfare abuses by Animal Aid.
The BVA has challenged the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to take further investigative action to enable DEFRA to consider prosecutions against the Essex abattoir where “appalling animal welfare abuses” were highlighted in footage obtained by Animal Aid.
The footage, although obtained covertly, clearly shows pigs being abused and manhandled in breach of animal welfare legislation.
Commenting on this disturbing incident of animal suffering, BVA president Harvey Locke said: “There must be confidence in the systems that regulate and license slaughter and the people responsible for carrying it out. I have written to the chief executive of the FSA outlining our concerns at the lack of any action towards prosecution.
“The method by which the issue was highlighted should not, in our opinion, preclude further investigation by the FSA and DEFRA into these incidents with a view to lawfully obtaining evidence to either support or refute the accusations arising from the Animal Aid footage.”
Mr Locke added: “The UK food industry prides itself on high welfare standards. Animal cruelty is not acceptable and action must be taken. These are serious welfare issues and investigations into this sort of blatant abuse and appalling treatment of animals must be pursued vigorously.”
In his letter to the FSA Mr Locke reiterated the BVA’s views on the specific issue of CCTV in abattoirs at the stunning/slaughter point, stressing that food business operators (FBOs) must have effective procedures in place either to constantly monitor stunning and slaughter operations, or to enable the FBO or their animal welfare officer to inconspicuously observer stunning and slaughter operations at any time: such arrangements may include an aperture or window into the stunning area or the use of CCTV by the FBO for welfare monitoring and management purposes.