Animal Aid filmed pigs and sheep being killed at this Soil Association-approved slaughterhouse over two days in October and November 2009. Sheep were picked up by their fleeces and thrown into the stun pen. Pigs were coerced into moving with chains, electrified tongs, kicks and blows. One was dragged by his tail.
One worker deliberately sent a powerful electric shock through the body of one sheep. She fell to the ground rigid and, as the electric tongs were removed, she struggled to stand. The same man administered similar painful shocks to the sheep who were already partially stunned and on the hoist.
Some sheep were left for more than a minute after stunning before being slaughtered (since electrical stunning wears off, it is essential that sheep are killed within 15 seconds of being stunned to avoid them coming round again). And a further law was broken when sheep had their necks broken or were decapitated (or both) straight after their throats were cut. The law says 20 seconds must elapse before sheep are butchered to ensure they really are dead.
Three slaughtermen were suspended and the Meat Hygiene Service announced that ‘evidence to support a potential prosecution of [the] slaughterhouse operator and slaughterers is being collated’. The case reached court but, following a change in government in May 2010, Defra suddenly dropped the prosecution, saying ‘there was no realistic prospect of conviction in this case’ due to the way Animal Aid obtained the footage. The arguments put forward by Defra all turned out to be wrong, and Animal Aid’s footage was later used to convict slaughtermen of abuse. However, the government’s decision at this time meant that the slaughterhouse workers and owners at Tom Lang Ltd were not brought to court when they should have been.
When the footage was made public, the Soil Association suspended Tom Lang from its scheme but later re-instated it.
The slaughterhouse installed CCTV cameras.