A major investigation has been launched after undercover filming revealed ‘shocking’ abuse of cows being beaten with piping prior to death at a slaughterhouse.
Footage shows abattoir workers attacking cows with what appears to be a pipe and slamming a gate closed on the neck of another animal.
Another clip reveals a cow being threatened and losing its footing on the slippery floor as it tries to escape the hands of abattoir staff.
Workers also seemed to find the abuse funny with one worker baiting another in the video taunting: “Don’t hesitate. You’re hesitating.”
A colleague then laughs, and he adds: “Do you want some Christmas beef?”
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) launched an investigation after Anti-animal abuse organisation Animal Aid released the footage taken at the abattoir run by PJ Hayman, in Ottery St Mary, Devon.
Tor Bailey, Farming and Slaughter campaign manager at Animal Aid, said: “PJ Hayman & Sons is a small slaughterhouse, which some people may think is more humane, but we were deeply shocked and saddened by what we filmed there.
“This included a cow being beaten on the way to her death, and the already horrific slaughter process being worsened by blatant incompetence.
“Time and time again we have revealed shocking scenes that dispel the “humane slaughter” myth.
“We would urge anyone who feels moved by the footage to consider going plant-based as this is the only way to be assured of animal welfare.”
The Food Standards Agency confirmed it has launched a criminal investigation into the actions of those caught on the footage.
A spokesman said: “The Food Standards Agency takes animal welfare at abattoirs very seriously and a criminal investigation is underway.
“Our veterinary staff reviewed the footage received from Animal Aid and appropriate action was taken within 24 hours.
“The introduction of mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses later this year is part of stronger measures to ensure proper safeguards are introduced to prevent incidents of this nature.”
PJ Hayman, which supplies up-market butchers across Devon, have yet to respond to requests for comment.
Watch Video Here (caution distressing footage)