Animal Aid's campaign for mandatory CCTV and independent monitoring in all UK slaughterhouses. Helping vets to see what happens in the stunning and slaughter areas when they cannot be present.

Animal Aid filmed pigs being killed over three days in April 2010. This was one of the most violent slaughterhouses we filmed, with one worker launching regular vicious and sadistic attacks on the animals. There were countless horrific examples where he went out of his way to cause suffering to the pigs. This included: using the stunning tongs to send powerful electric shocks through pigs’ ears, tails, legs, bodies, and snouts. In one case, he inserted the tongs into the open mouth of a pig who was already suffering on the ground and sent a powerful shock through her jaw. He used the tongs to beat animals and jab them in their faces. He hit pigs in the face with a shackle hook so hard it drew blood. He routinely kicked pigs in their stomachs and faces. He left a semi-stunned pig suffering on the ground for 30 seconds while he stood above her wiping his face. He punished a pig by inadequately stunning her, letting her come round again for two minutes and then sending a shock through her body. He shouted at animals, abused them and mocked their suffering.

His method of stunning pigs was illegal: a brief head ‘stun’ just to make them fall to the floor followed by another ‘stun’ around their bodies, neither of which would have rendered the animal unconscious but would have caused terrible pain. Then they would be shackled and hoisted and only at this point did he administer a head stun. Almost every pig was stunned illegally. After a particularly vicious attack on a group of pigs, who screamed and drew outside attention, the slaughterman killed the next five animals entirely legally. It is our belief he was being watched and he only abused animals when he thought he was not. This supports Animal Aid’s view that independently monitored CCTV cameras must be installed in all UK slaughterhouses.

What happened next?

The Chief Executive of the Food Standards Agency said of A&G Barber ‘The cruelty on show is the worst I’ve seen’. The Agency built a case for the prosecution of the worker and slaughterhouse owner (who has ultimate responsibility for ensuring welfare laws are upheld) but, once again, the government dropped the cases claiming incorrectly that there was ‘no realistic prospect of a conviction’ due to the methods Animal Aid used to obtain the footage. Animal Aid’s footage later convicted and jailed two slaughterhouse workers, but it was too late by then for those at A&G Barber to face justice.

However, once the footage was made public, the slaughterhouse’s main customer in Germany cancelled its contract and, as a result, the slaughterhouse went out of business.