Leaked footage from one Morrisons abattoir shows workers beating pigs with paddles breaching animal welfare regulations.
Morrisons has been accused of breaching animal welfare rules at one of its abattoirs after undercover filming showed pigs being hit, kicked, struck with paddles and sworn at amid accusations of excessive force.
Footage filmed late last year which claims to be from the Morrisons’ Woodheads site shows a lame pig being kicked as it struggles to enter the abattoir from a truck. It then collapses onto its snout and struggles to hobble along in a distressing clip.
Staff at the site in Spalding, Lincolnshire, are accused of calling the animals ‘b******s’.
Claire Palmer, founder of Animal Justice Project – the group that filmed the footage seen by the MailOnline – described it as ‘grim’ and ‘shocking’.
Morrisons acknowledged ‘some concerning footage of a pig that arrived at our abattoir with a clear injury to its front leg’ and are investigating.
Independent veterinary experts who reviewed the video for The Times said it showed apparent offences in breach of animal welfare rules.
Andrew Knight, veterinary professor of animal welfare at the University of Winchester, told the newspaper: ‘The video footage clearly shows repeated instances of inhumane and inappropriate treatment of animals.
‘Pigs are hit repeatedly and on sensitive body parts such as the head and face, to force them to move forwards.
‘Even a pig who is severely lame and barely able to walk is repeatedly hit. In obvious terror, pigs climb upon one another in desperate attempts to escape.’
Alick Simmons, former deputy chief veterinary officer insisted lame pigs should not be transported, and instead should be treated or slaughtered immediately.
Simmons said the video showed excessive use of the paddles to move the pigs forward.
A spokesman for Morrisons told MailOnline: ‘We care deeply about animal welfare, both in our own operations and throughout our supply chain, and we’re confident that our training and monitoring systems are among the best in the industry. There is however very concerning footage of a pig that arrived at the abattoir with a clear injury to its front leg. We are looking carefully into how this happened. The video also shows more forceful than necessary use of the rattle – which is totally unacceptable – and will be dealt with. We will also be stepping up the training of third party hauliers and our own colleagues, ensuring the safe movement of animals on our sites.’
A spokesperson for the Food Standards Agency said: ‘The FSA has a zero-tolerance approach to animal welfare breaches, so we will look into these new allegations, and if necessary take enforcement action. We monitor standards of animal welfare at approved slaughterhouses. All FSA staff are instructed to take prompt enforcement action if animal welfare breaches are identified within an abattoir, which includes daily monitoring of operations. We’re working with partner agencies and industry to continuously improve animal welfare at slaughter.’
Original source: https://www.dailymail.co.uk