Bowood scandal update: Abattoir defends record following footage

Bowood Lamb has defended itself, stating that animal welfare is its “highest priority”, after covert footage appears to show cruelty in its slaughterhouse

In a statement released through solicitor Jamie Foster, partner at Foster and Griffin, Bowood said: “We set very high standards for the way in which animals that pass through our premises are treated and we enforce those standards rigorously. Everyone working for us knows and understands the standards we require.”

An Animal Aid video, allegedly from inside the abattoir based in Thirsk, North Yorkshire, appears to show sheep being stamped on, thrown around, taunted, and having their throats roughly cut.

However, the company, having announced that one member of staff had instantly been dismissed, and three suspended, said: “Bowood Lamb is surprised that Animal Aid targeted our premises, given the stated aim of their campaign is to encourage CCTV in abattoirs. Bowood Lamb has had CCTV in our premises for over four years. In addition, whenever our plant is in operation, we have meat inspectors and an official veterinarian on-site at all times to ensure that the law is complied with fully.

“Despite the fact that we take all possible precautions, it is impossible to ensure that human beings will never fall below the required standards. We are very pleased that this has been a very rare occurrence in our business, but take the appropriate action when, as in this case, it does happen.”

Bowood Lamb added that the incident might force the use of the ‘V’ restrainer to be readdressed: “While we cannot condone Animal Aid breaking into our plant and undermining the strict hygiene controls we have in place, if one good thing does come out of this incident, we hope it is that Defra may take another look at its interpretation of the rules relating to the ‘V’ restrainer. This is an excellent piece of apparatus when used properly but, used in the way Defra demands, can increase the stress on both sheep and operators. We hope Defra will be as swift to address this issue as we were to deal with our staff member at the centre of this incident.”

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