MHS said the three slaughtermen shown in the footage have now been suspended from their jobs while evidence to support a potential prosecution of the operator and the slaughterers is collated.
Steve McGrath, MHS chief executive, said: “Senior MHS vets have also visited Tom Lang and we have put additional staff into the slaughterhouse on a temporary basis to ensure that standards of slaughtering are acceptable. Our on-site Official Veterinarian is also making additional random checks on slaughtering. The owner has made it clear that he will work with the MHS to ensure such cruelty does not occur again. He has now employed a foreman to supervise operations and is installing CCTV to record the slaughtering process.”
The Soil Association said it has removed its meat stamps from the company after a visit from inspectors which in effect suspends the abattoir’s organic licence although there is no evidence to suggest the animals allegedly abused were reared organically.
David Peace, Soil Association Certification MD, said: “Our position is that all animals, organic or not, should be slaughtered humanely and with dignity. Organic standards require that livestock are reared to the highest levels of animal welfare. Compassion in World Farming recognises that the Soil Association is the gold standard for this. When it comes to slaughter, our standards reflect the high legislative requirements for humane treatment of animals in abattoirs. Our inspectors carry out rigorous annual inspections of certified abattoirs and a number of unannounced spot checks. But it is the day-to-day role of the Meat Hygiene Service to ensure animal health and welfare regulations are followed.”
In August, Animal Aid released video footage revealing welfare breaches at two abattoirs in Cornwall and Somerset used to compile a report entitled ‘The Humane Slaughter Myth’.