Inside UK Slaughterhouses

“You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Warning: this video contains graphic footage that viewers may find upsetting.

Slaughter in the UK from Animal Aid on Vimeo (click to view).

This is a compilation of footage secretly filmed at seven randomly chosen red-meat slaughterhouses in the UK and it’s release coincides with the publication of a report by Animal Aid detailing the results of an 18 month long investigation that has resulted in several prosecutions and widespread public revulsion.

During the investigation, Animal Aid documented frequent episodes of a highly distressing nature that included animals being improperly stunned before going to the knife, deliberately being given electric shocks to ears and mouth, being kicked or thrown by their ears into stunning pens, being cut or decapitated while still conscious, trodden on, beaten with shackles or electric tongs. Some of the recorded incidents were examples of bad practice and others were outright and malicious cruelty to animals in their last moments.

Disturbingly, these practices are clearly widespread and happen behind closed doors and a long way from the smiling pig logo on the pork pies on our supermarket shelves. As a result of the investigation, Sainsbury’s has suspended it’s contract with one of the slaughterers concerned and there have been several further outcomes including renewed support for CCTV in UK slaughterhouses. The complete report can be downloaded from Animal Aid, 19 pages recording the abuses and the implications for the meat trade in the future.

The reason I am putting this horrible footage on my blog is to encourage people to ask where their meat comes from and question whether they wish to be complicit as consumers. It appears that genuine “Humane Slaughter” is the exception rather than the rule.

This is not vegetarian propaganda so much as an attempt to call the industry to account and to enforce the law of the land. However, for my part, if there is a 1% chance of the food on my plate coming from a place like this, then I’d rather go hungry. I do believe this underlying violence in our food chain is a sign that we are becoming dangerously, inhumanly irresponsible and wilfully ignorant as a society.