A halal slaughterhouse that was secretly filmed abusing animals in December 2014 has gone into administration. The Thirsk, North Yorkshire operation called Bowood Yorkshire Lamb was the subject of public outrage after footage revealed animals being kicked in the face, smashed into solid objects head first and picked up and hurled by their legs, fleeces, throats and ears.
The law requires abattoirs to stun animals before slaughter to prevent unnecessary suffering, with some exemptions for Jewish and Muslim producers. Over three days in December, activists from Animal Aid used hidden cameras to record footage at Bowood which showed:
• 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.
• Employees taunting and frightening animals by waving knives, smacking them on the head and shouting at them.
As a result, a Food Standards Agency (FSA) investigation was launched into the footage. A statement released yesterday and published by The Sheffield Star newspaper quoting wire service AP said the company had ceased trading and all the staff had been made redundant.
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.
A spokesman for Leonard Curtis, an insolvency specialist, said:
“K G Murphy, P Deyes and J M Titley of Leonard Curtis were appointed as joint administrators of Bowood Farms Limited t/a Bowood Yorkshire Lamb on 5th August 2015.
“Prior to our appointment, the company had ceased to trade and all employees have subsequently been made redundant. The Joint Administrators are actively seeking interested parties for the property and assets.”
Andrew Tyler, from the animal rights group Animal Aid which first revealed the extent of the problems at Bowood, said the secret CCTV monitoring his group has been undertaking since 2009 is an absolute priority for all UK slaughterhouses.
Last year, 2.4 million sheep and goats were killed without being stunned in halal and Jewish abattoirs, according to the British Veterinary Association.
“The regulatory and political authorities have delayed for too long,” Tyler said. “The comprehensive evidence we have presented makes clear that cameras will have a significantly beneficial effect. There must be no further delay in requiring their mandatory installation.”