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Video exposes horrific cruelty in Essex Slaughterhouse

News Section Icon Published 29/07/2011

Yesterday, Thursday 28 July 2011, investigative footage showing abhorrent cruelty to pigs was brought to our attention.

The footage, captured by Animal Aid shows workers at Elmkirk Ltd (Cheale Meats) in Essex:

  • stubbing out their cigarettes on pigs faces,
  • pigs being hit with cricket bats
  • violently punching a pig in the face - for no apparent reason other than, we can assume, for their own entertainment.

The films were recorded secretly on hidden cameras and Defra says it cannot prosecute as the footage was obtained without the permission of the slaughterhouse.

Philip Lymbery, Compassion's CEO says: "The Government needs to deal with this appalling incident of animal suffering as a matter of urgency. Animals are at their most vulnerable behind the closed doors of the slaughterhouse. The scenes uncovered by this investigation are horrific and in clear breach of the law. It is simply not good enough to ignore evidence, particularly when it concerns the suffering of helpless creatures.

"We urge Defra to take this matter seriously and to prosecute those involved for the laws they have broken: for not ensuring the pigs are able to walk; for dragging some pigs to the place of slaughter; for not ensuring that the animals are moved with care; for inflicting kicks and blows on the pigs and for dragging pigs by the ears.

"Pigs are highly intelligent animals and they must have been terrified. Such horrific cruelty is unacceptable. Without investigations like this, who knows how long this torture may have gone on?"

The footage shows clear evidence of breaches of welfare rules and sadistic practices. It is in the public's interest to know what is happening in these slaughterhouses. Compassion in World Farming calls on the Government to launch a review of how abattoirs are monitored and for Defra to prosecute these law breakers and make sure that slaughterhouses actions are in line with the Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations.

Without such footage obtained by animal welfare organisations, or other monitoring, consumers could unwittingly be eating meat from animals subjected to horrendous abuse at slaughter. Consumers have the right to be reassured that animal protection laws are being properly enforced.

Find out more about pigs >>


Take Action:

  • Help us bring an end to this heartless treatment of our farm animals.
    Write to Jim Paice, MP, Minister of State for Agriculture and Food.

    Email him:

    Postal address:
    Jim Paice, MP
    Nobel House
    17 Smith Square
    SW1P 3JR
  • Download our Speak Out information sheet ( 121.97KB) for some top tips on how to write lobbying and media letters. If you want to support our work putting pen to paper then let us know and we'll make sure that you are kept informed of any letter-writing actions that we suggest. We'll also contact you in case of urgent matters when a timely letter can make a difference.

We believe that farm animals should not and need not suffer.

If you agree, please support us today. Your donation could help end all forms of farm animal cruelty and help us stop factory farming in its tracks. We receive no government funding so rely entirely on the generosity of our supporters to prevent cruelty to farm animals all over the world.

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