News and updates about Australian slaughterhouses / abattoirs
Covert evidence of cruelty halts abattoir
This article relates to the following facility: Hawkesbury Valley Meats (Aussie Abattoirs)
A SYDNEY abattoir has stopped slaughtering and faces closure and prosecution after hidden-camera footage of chilling animal cruelty emerged.
The NSW Food Authority ordered the immediate halt yesterday to slaughter at the Hawkesbury Valley Meat Processors at Wilberforce, in Sydney's west, after seeing undercover footage apparently taken by a worker at the abattoir.
Work at a Sydney slaughterhouse has been suspended after horrific footage of workers mistreating animals. Photo: Steve Hynes
''This is one of the worst cases I've seen in an abattoir of animal cruelty,'' said Peter Day, a spokesman for the authority. The footage, recorded over six days at the end of last month, shows workers mistreating sheep, cattle, pigs and goats.
It shows sheep being hung up and skinned while apparently still conscious, and a man repeatedly belting live pigs over the head with a metal bar.
The authority, the RSPCA and the Department of Primary Industries will investigate the abattoir for breaches of food regulations and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
The group Animal Liberation said it had been told of the activities by a worker at the plant, which employs about 20 people.
''This man just rang up our anonymous hotline after seeing the expose´ of Indonesian abattoirs on television,'' a campaigner, Emma Hurst, told the Herald. ''He just said, if you thought that footage from Indonesia was graphic, you should know that the same thing is happening here in Sydney where I work.''
Ms Hurst said her organisation planned the covert operation with the worker and the installation of two pinhole cameras which recorded up to 100 acts of cruelty.
The footage showed repeated and apparently illegal use of electrical prods to move animals around the slaughterhouse and, in one instance, a goat that tried to escape was caught and smashed against a wall.
''This is hideous cruelty and in fact is torture,'' Ms Hurst said. ''We need the government to start the push for mandatory CCTV cameras in every sector of these places to stop this happening again.''
The director of the abattoir, Glenn Langley, was shown the footage and gave it to police. He declined to comment.
RAW VISION: Hidden camera reveals animal cruelty
Steve Coleman, the chief executive of RSPCA NSW, said there was sufficient evidence to require an immediate investigation. He said it was not the first time the abattoir, a small family business, had been reported to the RSPCA. ''We have had complaints [in] the past about this abattoir but nothing that's warranted a prosecution.''
Fines of up to $110,000 or two years' imprisonment apply for acts of aggravated acts of cruelty to animals, according to the prevention of cruelty act.
Last year Animals Australia recorded images of cattle being mistreated at an Indonesian abattoir, which resulted in the temporary halt of live animal exports.
Stock already at the abattoir must be sent to other slaughterhouses or back to the farm.