News and updates about Australian slaughterhouses / abattoirs
Slaughter of horses causes outrage
This article relates to the following facility: Laverton Knackery (Aussie Abattoirs)
ALLEGATIONS of inhumane slaughter of horses at a western suburbs knackery have sparked outrage and prompted the Melbourne and Werribee Open Range zoos to source horsemeat from other knackeries.
Secret footage shot by animal activists, the Coalition for Protection of Racehorses, and seen by Fairfax Media, shows several horses being killed at the Laverton Knackery, with at least one animal tied up and dragged along concrete while apparently still alive. The allegations are being investigated by the state's meat regulator, PrimeSafe, as well as the RSPCA after Animals Australia - the group that uncovered cruelty to Australian cattle in Indonesia in 2011 - made a formal complaint.
In a detailed letter to the Department of Primary Industries, Animals Australia claims dozens of breaches of animal cruelty, hygiene, welfare and meat industry laws, which could result in the cancellation or suspension of the business' licence.
Footage of a horse being dragged at Laverton Knackery.
In one case, Animals Australia alleges a ''worker shot the horse twice, did not ensure the horse was dead, and then tied the horse to a tractor and dragged him across 60 metres of concrete and gravel after which he was found to still be breathing.
''The worker shot the horse again and the horse's throat was then slit and the horse continued to make purposeful movements, paddling his legs and lifting his head off the ground until he eventually died.''
PrimeSafe chief executive Brian Casey said it would examine the potential breaches of the Pet Meat standard.
Mr Casey said horses are ''skittish'' at the best of times but animals must always be handled and killed humanely.
Laverton Knackery did not wish to comment when contacted on Wednesday .
The RSPCA confirmed that is conducting an investigation into animal cruelty, after receiving a complaint in November.
Last week, Animals Australia showed the video to Melbourne and Werribee zoos director Kevin Tanner. ''Zoos Victoria has ceased all supply arrangements with Laverton Pet Supplies following the presentation of evidence from Animals Australia showing inhumane treatment of horses at their premise,'' Mr Tanner said. He said Zoos Victoria was also reviewing all other meat supply arrangements for all its zoos, including Healesville Sanctuary, to ensure suppliers adhere to the organisation's Animal Welfare commitments.
Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses campaign manager Elio Celotto said the group was ''absolutely unsurprised'' at the vision its activist captured.
''Primesafe, in my opinion, are not doing their job, these horses deserve to be treated with dignity,'' Mr Celotto said.
Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh said he would closely monitor the investigations.
''Cruelty to animals will not be tolerated,'' Mr Walsh said. ''Animal handling facilities that do not adhere to the rules and regulations regarding animal welfare can expect to face prosecution and have their operation licences cancelled.''
The allegations come amid renewed pressure on Australia's live export trade after footage of cruelty to Australian cattle in Israeli abattoirs was screened on the ABC's 7.30 on Tuesday night.
The new claims have again prompted calls from the Greens, independent Andrew Wilkie and some in the Labor caucus for the trade to be shut down or for tougher scrutiny by regulators.