A video shot in an Essex slaugherhouse apparently shows pigs being abused in the most horrific ways, as workers at Elmkirk Ltd (Cheale Meats) appear to stub out cigarettes on pigs’ faces, hit them with bats and drag the animals injured by their ears.

Animal Aid claims their investigators at the plant filmed slaughtermen stubbing out cigarettes on pigs’ faces, injuring them with pincers, hitting them with sharp paddles and failing to stun them properly, so animals are strung up and sent to have their throats cut while still alive.

In one scene, a pig is dragged into the stun pen by a pole in her mouth. Animal Aid said the animal was not stunned, but shackled, hoisted and had her throat cut on the slaughter line while still conscious.

However, despite the video evidence, the Government has refused to prosecute those involved.

Watch the Animal Aid footage here


Animal rights organisation Animal Aid, has slammed the decision not to prosecute Elmkirk, saying that ministers are putting the commercial interests of the meat industry above welfare.

The secret filming took place at an Essex slaughterhouse run by Cheale Meats, where up to 6,000 pigs are slaughtered every week. According to Elmkirk’s solicitor, Jamie Foster, the evidence will be inadmissible as it was obtained without permission.

“Given the source of this material Elmkirk would not accept that all or any of the activities shown on this video relate to their premises,” Foster said.

“Clearly any footage which relates to our clients premises has been obtained unlawfully. I have been involved in cases previously where such evidence has been ruled to be inadmissible or the Prosecution has declined to rely on evidence which has been obtained by burglary or other unlawful means.

“A complaint has been made to Essex Police by our clients in relation to any unlawful entry into our client’s premises by an employee of Animal Aid.  The outcome of that complaint is awaited.”

Defra spokesman said it was unlikely that a conviction would be possible, despite the shocking film of pigs being abused.

“However, where video evidence has been obtained unlawfully through trespass, there is very little prospect of securing a conviction,” he said.

“As the RSPCA has also found in previous cases, trials which are thrown out of court do absolutely nothing to help reduce the suffering of animals.”

Head of campaigns at Animal Aid, Kate Fowler, is furious with the decision.

“If Defra won’t prosecute these flagrant breaches of the law; if the vets can’t or won’t act to stop the cruelties; and if the slaughterhouse owners look the other way, who is there to stop animals from being abused at the most vulnerable time of their lives?” she said.

The website for Cheale Meats, a company registered in Brentwood, Essex, appears to be offline today.

Get more info here: animalaid.org.uk