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 four days in March and April 2011. At least two different workers stubbed their cigarettes out on the faces of pigs, while another punched a pig hard in the face for fun. We filmed three seriously injured pigs crawl from the lairage, through the race to the slaughter pen, while being kicked, pushed and beaten. One lame pig was dragged into the pen by his ears. Animals were beaten repeatedly around the head and face, and an electric goad was used on the face of one animal and on the anus of another.

The stunning was poor, and we filmed many animals screaming after the improperly-used electric tongs had left them in serious pain rather than rendering them unconscious.

What happened next?
Animal Aid reported the cruelty to the Food Standards Agency, which revoked two slaughtermen’s licences and increased monitoring. We formally requested that the Agency initiated a prosecution but were told that ‘Defra is not prepared to commence prosecution proceedings where the initial allegation is based on CCTV footage gained without the consent of the relevant Food Business Operator’. Animal Aid appointed a legal team that challenged the Food Standards Agency’s decision not to investigate, as well as Defra’s decision not to prosecute. At the same time, we took our footage to Sky News and the national press, where the story of overt cruelty and the government’s refusal to act received widespread coverage. The Food Standards Agency quickly agreed to investigate and pass the file to Defra. Animal Aid later dropped its legal action against Defra when the government department was stripped of its prosecution function – something which Animal Aid had been lobbying for, since the department was clearly too close to the industry and had a serious conflict of interest.

The Crown Prosecution Service took the case to court based on our footage and two Cheale Meats workers pleaded guilty and were jailed, one for burning pigs with a cigarette and another for beating pigs with excessive force and frequency.