UK farmers often pay hunts to dispose of their animal carcasses. If this footage is anything to go by, it’s an industry that is both morally and legally dubious.

Jumping up and down on a dead cow and repeatedly running over another, along with bins of rotting carcasses left open to wildlife and the elements – all these are just some of the shocking scenes revealed by covert investigators.

Secret filming, commissioned by the energy provider Ecotricity, has provided a harrowing insight into the so-called ‘Fallen Stock’ service provided to farmers and landowners who pay hunts to dispose of their dead animals. Little is known about this industry, hidden well behind the traditional hunting image of red coats, horses and hounds. And if the footage is anything to go by, it is an industry that is both morally and legally dubious. As if hunts weren’t morally questionable enough, using the smokescreen of ‘trail hunting’ to skirt the 2004 ban on hunting with hounds, now it seems they can’t even help farmers dispose of their dead livestock without being thoroughly reprehensible.

In one clip, we see a worker standing on the dead body of a cow and bouncing up and down. In another, a worker repeatedly reverses his quad bike onto a dead cow for no good reason. The lack of respect with which they treat these once living, sentient individuals, while it speaks volumes about their characters, it isn’t surprising and tallies with the example set by other hunt workers, namely Terriermen.

Terriermen, employed by hunts to dig out foxes who ‘go to ground’ by escaping into their dens or other holes, are not nice human beings by any measure. Countless encounters with hunt saboteur groups, filmed and shared on social media, have revealed Terriermen to be little more than thugs paid to ensure a hunt continues uninterrupted, usually by intimidation and often actual violence that goes largely unpunished. It’s impossible to say whether any of the workers seen in the recent ‘fallen stock’ footage are also Terriermen, but it’s safe to say that the requirements for moral fortitude are going to be equally low.

In the footage, cows, sheep, hunting hounds, foxes and horses are all dumped into skips. Many of the bins overflow with body parts, and so present the highest risk to humans and animals. Yet they are left open, with magpies, chickens, crows and dogs feeding from them, the perfect conditions for the spread of dangerous diseases.

Hidden cameras were placed at five sites in England and Wales. At all of them, dangerous biological waste was left exposed, while satellite image analysis suggests there could be many more. Alick Simmons, a former UK Deputy Chief Vet who played a key role in the response to the BSE crisis, told ITV: “These animals should not have access to these bins. It’s as simple as that. What we’re worried about is diseases transmitting from farm to farm, the imperative is to make sure that these carcasses are handled carefully and got rid of quickly. BSE has not gone, it’s very, very rare, but it’s still there. People who follow basic good practice wouldn’t allow [this] to happen.”

But what is supposed to happen to the dead animals? When the bins are full of the rotting bodies of fallen farm animals, hounds and wild animals, they are sent to be processed into Meat and Bone Meal (MBM), a type of ‘renewable’ fuel that is burned to generate electricity.

Dale Vince, founder of the Vegan-approved energy company Ecotricity, commissioned the covert filming. He said: “Look at the way they treat the animals that are in their care, the casual way they kill them, the way they treat their bodies after they’ve killed them. It’s just incredible. We find animal abuse, breach of regulations. Something really shocking was the dumping of partridges that had been shot for fun, dumped in the bin, and used to make electricity and we just couldn’t get our heads around that.”

The investigation sheds light on yet another way in which our choices as consumers fuel animal exploitation. Some may say that the dead animals would have gone to waste if not processed into MBM, but without animal agriculture and hunting, we wouldn’t have dead animals to dispose of in the first place. By choosing an energy supplier which uses MBM, we may very well be indirectly supporting the hunts that generate extra income by providing fallen stock services to animal agriculture. By buying animal products, we support harmful animal farming, which in turn pays hunts to dispose of dead animals that could not go into the food chain. Either way, it’s the hunts that win, and the animals who lose.

Original source: https://www.surgeactivism.org