Public health vets have railed against the “unforgivable” abuse filmed taking place in an Essex slaughterhouse, voicing frustration at DEFRA’s decision not to prosecute abattoir owners.

Public health vets have railed against the “unforgivable” abuse filmed taking place in an Essex slaughterhouse, voicing frustration at DEFRA’s decision not to prosecute abattoir owners.

A still taken from Animal Aid's Cheale Meats footageHowever, OV leaders have maintained welfare standards and training are improving among slaughtermen and vets.

On August 1 vetsonline reported on the Animal Aid exposé of the family-run Cheale Meats facility in Essex, where staff were covertly filmed kicking and punching slaughter pigs, beating the animals with bats and stubbing cigarettes out on their faces.

Following Animal Aid’s delivery of the footage to the Food Standards Agency in May two slaughtermen lost their jobs and the site underwent further monitoring and investigation.

DEFRA has said it will not prosecute the Cheale family as the department now has a policy of omitting covertly sourced evidence, despite the Animal Aid footage apparently showing numerous welfare breaches

VPHA president Kenneth ClarkeKenneth Clarke, president of the Veterinary Public Health Association (VPHA)  said he was very disturbed by the Animal Aid footage.

He said: “I’m very disappointed such problems are still occurring despite our efforts to give higher priority to animal welfare in abattoirs and to promote closer working between OVs and abattoir operators.

“Our members, who work as OVs and are responsible for the enforcement of welfare legislation in abattoirs on behalf of DEFRA, are very frustrated it is unable or unwilling to take prosecutions on the basis of the covertly-filmed video evidence.”

Jason AldissFellow VPHA officer Jason Aldiss, who runs a meat inspection and verification service in Leeds, said the abuse uncovered by the Cheale exposé were unforgivable, but admitted it would be difficult to completely stamp out malpractice in abattoirs by abusive individuals. However, he believes OV intervention is improving.

“There will always be occasions where bad things happen, and staff members that do unacceptable things, and we need tight management and veterinary supervision to stop these things happening,” said Dr Aldiss.

“A lot of effort has gone in [to improve things] and I still genuinely believe that these sorts of issues are not endemic in the industry. I am certain vets take the issue seriously and 99% of them do a great job.”

View your activity >

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of
avatar

wpDiscuz