Undercover secret filming claims to show a slaughterman repeatedly sawing at the necks of sheep with a knife as they pass down a conveyor belt. The animals were NOT killed instantly – as should be the case – and many were seen convulsing and jumping while still conscious as they went down the line.
UK Daily Mail (h/t Susan K) The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has taken steps to ban the slaughterman involved and could bring a criminal prosecution. Halal slaughter is designed to meet the religious requirements of the Islamic faith, which forbids the stunning of animals prior to having their throats cut.
The slaughterhouse at Dunnockshaw Farm, near Burnley, is owned by the Malik Food Group, which claims to be ‘the UK’s leading processor of Premium Halal Mutton, Lamb and Beef’. The company website boasts: ‘Our meat is eaten by millions of consumers every year, and is stocked through the UK by leading retailers.’
Many restaurants such as Pizza Express, KFC and Subway now sell halal meat – mainly chicken – without making it clear on menus. Hundreds of schools have also switched to halal and all the major supermarkets sell New Zealand lamb killed according to halal ritual without declaring it on labels.
Conventional slaughterhouses stun animals with a bolt gun or electric shock to render them unconscious while they are killed. Under Islamic law, the pre-stunning of the animals is not allowed.
More than 100million animals are killed in the UK every year using the halal method. The slaughterman must be Muslim and, in theory, a religious verse should be recited. In many abattoirs a recording is played over a loudspeaker.
Evidence of cruelty will heap pressure on the Government to accept demands for CCTV to be installed in all slaughterhouses. Such a move is backed by the FSA, more than 200 MPs and the BVA.
The filming was carried out last month by campaign group Animal Aid. Its spokesman Luke Steele said: ‘Our investigation has uncovered barbaric and deliberate cruelty being inflicted on animals, in horrific scenes unlike any we have ever seen before. ‘There is no doubt that law breaking continues to be an inherent problem in halal abattoirs.’
A spokesman said: ‘Based on our findings, and reviewing nearly 70 hours of video, we took immediate enforcement action against both the operator and individual plant staff, including the issue of Welfare Enforcement Notices and revocation of slaughterman certificates of competence.