United Kingdom: Four Muslim slaughtermen have had their operating licences suspended after hidden cameras were used to film the alleged mistreatment of animals at a halal slaughterhouse.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has launched an investigation into the footage from the Bowood Lamb abattoir in Thirsk, North Yorkshire, saying there was ‘no excuse for treating animals in the way shown on the video’ and adding that prosecutions could follow.
Animal rights group Animal Aid used hidden cameras to record footage over a period of three days in December.
The footage apparently shows:
- A worker hacking and sawing at animals’ throats, in direct contravention of Islamic practice. In one instance it took up to five attempts to sever blood vessels.
- 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.
- Staff erupting into laughter over a sheep bleeding to death with spectacles drawn around her eyes in green paint.
- Staff taunting and frightening animals by waving knives, smacking them on the head and shouting at them.
- A worker holding a sheep by the throat and pulling back his fist as if to deliver a punch.
- 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.
The video footage appears to show that these rules were not adhered to at Bowood, where more than 4,000 sheep were filmed being killed.
Watch the video here below
Sheep appeared to have knives sharpened in front of them and watched their flock-mates bleeding to death before being shackled and hoisted.
Animals can apparently be seen having their throats hacked and sawed by a worker wearing the traditional Muslim kufi skullcap and muttering the words Allahu Akbar (God is great).
Kate Fowler, head of campaigns at Animal Aid, said the scenes were ‘inexcusable’. Animal Aid also criticised the poor design of the slaughterhouse. Animal Aid said it recognised that there was a risk of the video stirring up anti-Muslim feeling, but added: ‘Withholding release of the footage would be a betrayal of our key mission: to expose and combat animal cruelty.’