Abattoir cruelty causes stir in Australia

By Melodie Michel

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Livestock Pork

Abattoir cruelty causes stir in Australia
Slaughterings at a western Sydney abattoir have been suspended after an undercover video exposing animal cruelty emerged.

The video, broadcast on ABC TV yesterday and thought to have been filmed by one of the plant’s employees, shows an worker bashing a pig several times on the head with a metal bar while conscious. The New South Wales (NSW) Food Authority immediately halted slaughterings at the Hawkesbury Valley Meat Processors abattoir, launched an investigation, and committed to increasing random inspections.

NSW minister for primary industries Katrina Hodgkinson said: “The NSW Government, like the people of NSW is horrified by the video footage of mistreatment of animals at this abattoir.

“Starting immediately, strict measures, including additional unannounced audits and inspections, will be ramped up to ensure all domestic abattoirs in NSW are aware of their responsibility to comply with standards under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (POCTA) 1979 and the Food Regulation 2010.

“The action to immediately shut down this facility yesterday demonstrates that the NSW Government will not hesitate in taking swift and decisive action when it comes to gross mistreatment of animals.”

According to The Australian​, the abattoir released a statement saying it had laid off or moved the staff involved in the incident, and was co-operating with the investigation.

The Australian Meat Industry Council (AMIC) condemned “totally unacceptable animal welfare practices”​, and welcomed the temporary closure of the plant.

Farming union NSW Farmers said it was “appalled by the acts of animal cruelty”​ on the video, and said animal welfare must be a priority all along the production chain. “Looking after your animals is essential to productive farming; our members are concerned and shocked when they see that the same care is not undertaken when the livestock leave the farm,”​ said president Fiona Simson.

Animals Australia said these “acts of gross animal mistreatment”​ were one more reason to push for the installation of CCTV cameras in all Australian abattoirs.

In November 2011, the LE Giles abattoir in Victoria lost its licence after a similar animal cruelty video broke out.

The scandals come after Australia suspended all livestock exports to Indonesia in June 2011, following the release of a video showing workers mistreating animals in an Indonesian abattoir.

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