#TheList for cruelty to sheep at a halal abattoir – Dale Valley Rossendale Ltd (Malik Foods), Malik Halls, 47 Great Horton Road, Bradford BD7 1AZ (director Junaid Imtiaz Malik, born April 1979 and recent ex-director and previous offender Stephen Lee Riley, born July 1980, of Dunnockshaw Farm, Burnley BB11 5PP), employees Imdad Ali of 31 Park Road, Accrington BB4 1SU, Joseph Bell of Carr Bank Farm, Crawshawbooth, Rossendale BB4 8UE, David Hargreaves of Adelaide Street, Crawshawbooth, and Elizabeth Bennett of 26 Humber Street, Preston PR3 3WD
The brutal treatment of sheep at a halal non-stun abattoir was caught on covert CCTV installed by animal welfare charity, Animal Aid.
Blackburn magistrates heard how it showed animals having their throats hacked at repeatedly by a slaughterman responsible for ‘sticking’ them.
Animals were not correctly restrained or loaded during the slaughter process causing greater distress.
The court was told when the overseeing vet was present all procedures were carried out correctly.
Howard Shaw, prosecuting, said: “It is not that they were ignorant of the regulations, these were deliberate breaches.”
Abattoir operator Dale Valley Rossendale Limited pleaded guilty to eight offences under Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing Regulations for England and was fined £5,000 plus £2,000 costs.
Imdad Ali, aged 47, pleaded guilty to failing to ensure sheep were not moved, shacked or hoisted after they had been stuck and before it was unconscious, failing to ensure a sheep was killed by severance of its carotid arteries and jugular veins by rapid, uninterrupted movements of a knife, excessive flexing of the neck of a sheep during sticking, failing to ensure sheep were moved with care, and sticking a sheep while it was not properly restrained causing it to fall to the floor while being bled.
He was sentenced to eight weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £200 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.
Joseph ‘Joe’ Bell, born 09/06/96, pleaded guilty to four charges relating to the improper handling of the sheep prior to slaughter. He was given a community order for 12 months with 120 hours’ unpaid work and ordered to pay £150 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.
David Hargreaves, 35, pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that every animal was moved with care by lifting ten sheep by their fleeces and/or tails when loading them into restrainers. He was fined £200 and ordered to pay £130 costs.
Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Bennett, 21, pleaded guilty to offences under the Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing Regulations. She was fined £120 and ordered to pay £100 costs.
Mr Shaw said the prosecution case was that a large number of sheep were caused to suffer unnecessarily during slaughter operations at the Dunnockshaw Farm abattoir on two days in March 2017.
Animal Aid commissioned two freelance investigators to install covert cameras in the killing room.
The investigators secretly entered the premises at night and installed the cameras which eventually provided the evidence on which the Foods Standards Agency based the prosecution.
Mr Shaw said over two days of filming 94 per cent of the sheep killed by non-stun halal methods were not slaughtered in compliance with the welfare requirements.
He said sheep were thrown into restraints and roughly handled prior to slaughter.
Ali failed to carry out the slaughter in the approved manner – a single rapid cut – and animals were moved after the cut before they had lost consciousness.
A Food Standards Agency spokesperson said: “The Food Standards Agency takes animal welfare at slaughterhouses very seriously and we investigate all reported breaches. We welcome that the business and individuals have been convicted and sentenced for their actions.
“Where abattoirs fail to uphold animal welfare standards, the FSA will investigate and seek to have prosecutions brought against those responsible.”
An Animal Aid spokeswoman said:‘While it is positive that this long-running case has finally concluded, we certainly do not feel that justice has been adequately served. These lenient sentences in no way reflect the gravity of the terrible suffering that was inflicted on gentle animals at the most vulnerable time of their short lives.
“It is important to emphasise the shocking scenes we filmed at this slaughterhouse were by no means unique. We have filmed inside 15 slaughterhouses, and found law-breaking in almost every case. Incidents filmed at other slaughterhouses include animals being beaten, kicked and burnt with cigarettes.
“But even when the law is followed to the letter, slaughter can never be cruelty-free. Slaughterhouses are merciless places, where animals’ lives are brutally taken from them.
“We would urge anyone who is shocked by this case to try a cruelty-free diet. Going vegan is the single best thing we can all do to help animals.”