A sorry chapter in the book
The footage filmed by Animal Aid is arguably another nail in the coffin of any attempt by the meat industry to escape the clutches of the Meat Hygiene Service (MHS) and saunter off down the path of self-regulation.
Critics will look at the evidence provided by Animal Aid and point out that if those kind of breaches are taking place under the watch of the MHS, how much worse would they be if the industry was allowed to police itself. And they may have a point.
The industry needs to get its act together if it expects to be taken seriously when it comes to fighting its corner on the issue of MHS reform.
Reports like the one from Animal Aid may only highlight the odd bad apple - but that, as we all know, is enough to tarnish the reputation of the entire industry.
The natural temptation is to dismiss Animal Aid as a crackpot vegan operation with an axe to grind - and, in fact, one of the facilities included in the report, Pickstocks, appears to simply be there due to the authors' views that it is guilty of being a slaughterhouse.
But the activists' report covers no-one in glory - from the industry's passive tolerance of poor practitioners through to the MHS for failing to effectively police the businesses.
Not even Animal Aid comes out smelling of roses, given the length of time it took the organisation to release the evidence it had gathered to the correct authorities.
All in all, the incident marks a sorry chapter in the industry's book and, unless we all take some responsibility and start living up to the claims we make for our "modern and professional" industry, it might not be the last.
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