Category Archives: Abattoirs

West Harptree, Somerset: Stephen Potter

#TheList horse abattoir operator Stephen John Potter, born April 1965, of Whistley Farm, Whistley Lane, West Harptree BS40 6HD

Stephen Potter and a horse being put down at one of his abattoirs
Stephen John Potter has grown rich on the back of his shoddy businesses. Photo on right shows a pony being put down at one of his abattoirs. Source: Daily Mail

Two businesses, F Drury & Sons Ltd, of Tockenham Corner, Swindon, SN4 7PF and L J Potter Ltd of Whistley Farm, West Harptree BS40 6HD together with Stephen Potter, who is the director of both companies, were found guilty of animal welfare offences following a prosecution brought by Wiltshire Council Trading Standards.

On 22nd October 2018, L J Potter Ltd transported a horse from Northern Ireland along with a consignment of other horses to Drury’s abattoir. The lorry arrived at the abattoir late at night and as the horses were being unloaded from the lorry, a grey mare was found to be lying on her side and unable to rise. CCTV footage viewed by the court showed the horse attempting to stand five times, but continually falling over until eventually she managed to stand unable to bear weight on her right fore leg and reluctant to move.

The grey mare that was the subject of the prosecution
Abhorrent cruelty: the grey mare couldn’t walk and or breathe but was left to suffer for several hours by Stephen Potter’s company

The court heard evidence from expert witnesses who viewed the CCTV footage that in their opinion, at that stage, either a vet should have been called to assess the condition of the horse, or she should have been put down. Instead, the court heard that Stephen Potter, who was not present at the abattoir but was viewing the unloading of the horses, instructed the driver to transport the grey mare on a further journey from the abattoir to his farm in Somerset.

The vehicle departed but soon returned to the abattoir as the horse had somehow managed to stand during the journey. The horse was unloaded from the vehicle and CCTV footage showed her being unable to walk on her front leg. Experts giving evidence for the prosecution were clear that the horse was suffering, needed urgent veterinary attention and was not fit to be transported.

The mare was left alone in the lairage at the abattoir overnight until she was noticed by the vet on duty at the abattoir early in the morning. He took the view that the animal was in a severe condition, breathing rapidly, distressed and therefore needed immediate destruction.

District Judge, Tim Pattinson, said that Potter ‘had made an error of judgement that had resulted in a horse suffering for several hours which could, and should have been avoided. In this country we expect high standards of animal welfare especially in commercial activity’.

Judge Pattinson also said that Potter had shown an excessively relaxed approach to the problem and had underplayed the pain and suffering of the horse.

The case, brought by Wiltshire Council Trading Standards, resulted in a total penalty of £22,170 divided between the two companies and Stephen Potter and included costs of £10,000 awarded to Wiltshire Council.

Wiltshire Times

In November 2010 Animal Aid exposed shocking cruelty at F R Drury. Undercover footage obtained by the group showed sheep being decapitated whilst still alive, calves slipping and collapsing repeatedly to the floor for three hours and goats leaping into the killing area to try to evade the stunning tongs.

Bradford Halal Slaughterhouse Cruelty: Dale Valley Rossendale Ltd and Employees

#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

Faces of cruelty: director of Dale Valley Rossendale Ltd Junaid Malik and three of the four employees prosecuted for animal abuse

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 Bell and girlfriend Elizabeth Bennett were both prosecuted for their part in the cruelty at the Dunnockshaw Farm halal slaughterhouse
Joseph Bell and girlfriend Elizabeth Bennett were both prosecuted for their part in the cruelty at the Dunnockshaw Farm halal slaughterhouse

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.

Joseph Bell and girlfriend Elizabeth Bennett were both prosecuted for their part in the cruelty at the Dunnockshaw Farm halal slaughterhouse

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.”

Lancashire Telegraph
Lancs Live
Animal Aid

Animal Aid investigation
Britain’s Failing Slaughterhouses published by Animal Aid

Dunstable, Bedfordshire: Michael Thorne, Rosebury pig farm

#TheList Michael A Thorne of Rosebury Farm, Harling Road, Dunstable where horrific footage shows workers smashing screaming piglets against a wall.

Rosebury Farm has lost its Red Tractor status after undercover footage showed tiny piglets being smashed against a wall
Rosebury Farm. which is owned by Michael Thorne and his family, has lost its Red Tractor status after undercover footage showed tiny piglets being smashed against a wall.

Rosebury Farm supplies major retailers as well as local butchers but has now lost its Red Tractor certification

Horrific footage of farm workers inflicting unimaginable cruelty against helpless piglets has been released by leading animal protection organization Animal Equality.

It shows a worker swinging tiny piglets by a back leg and smashing their head against the wall – one continues to kick for at least 10 seconds. In addition, according to Animal Equality, it features ‘piglets screaming in agony as the tips of their tiny teeth are clipped off without pain relief, terrified pigs being shocked repeatedly with an electric prod to force them onto the slaughter truck, and a tiny piglet frothing at the mouth, having been thrown onto a pile of dead piglets and left for dead hours earlier’.

Veterinary expert Professor Andrew Knight from the University of Winchester’s Centre for Animal Welfare viewed the footage and confirmed that it showed ‘inhumane handling and killing of piglets’ as well as ‘excessive and inappropriate use of an electric prod likely to cause pain and fear’.

Full story Plant Based News

Yeovil, Somerset: Graham Anstey

#TheList Graham Lee John Charles Anstey, born 15/10/1974, formerly of Trackside Farm, Yeovil and currently of Spooner Road, Wymondham, Norfolk NR18 –  caught on CCTV kicking a cow before pushing her head into a concrete floor and pulling on her tail.

Heartless livestock worker Graham Anstey formerly of Yeovil, now Wymondham in Norfolk
Heartless livestock worker now lives in Wymondham, Norfolk

The appalling footage showed Anstey spending 30 minutes trying to “violently” move the collapsed animal at an abattoir in Bridport, Dorset, before abandoning her on a ramp.

He pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a cow, failing to record livestock movements and breaching TB disease controls.

Sentence: fined £850 and ordered to pay £2,000 towards prosecution costs.

BBC News

Update June 2020: we are advised that Graham Anstey is now living at Rowney Farm, Whepstead, Suffolk IP29 4TQ and is keeping horses.

Horrific animal abuse at a slaughterhouse operated by Bowood Farms Ltd (dissolved)

#TheList former company director William G Woodward, born 18/01/1986, of Redhouse Farm, Catesby, Daventry NN11 6LW and employees Artur Lewandowski, born c. 1984, of Ribble Drive, Darlington DL1, Kabeer Hussain, born c. 1964, of 58 Brantwood Road, Bradford BD9 6QA, and Kazam Hussain, born c. 1973, of 179 Haworth Road, Bradford BD9 6NT – caused suffering to sheep as they were killed

Halal slaughtermen admit causing unnecessary suffering to animals after secret footage of halal killing showed workers hacking and sawing at sheep's throats
Halal slaughtermen admit causing unnecessary suffering to animals after secret footage of halal killing showed workers hacking and sawing at sheep’s throats

Abattoir boss William Woodward and slaughtermen Artur Lewandowski,  Kabeer Hussain and Kazam Hussain admitted causing unnecessary suffering to animals after secret footage of halal killing showed workers HACKING and SAWING at sheep’s throats. The secret filming by Animal Aid also showed  sheep being kicked in the head and hurled into metal walls.

Halal slaughtermen admit causing unnecessary suffering to animals after secret footage of halal killing showed workers hacking and sawing at sheep's throats
Former company director of Bowood Farms Ltd, William Woodward

The footage was passed on to the Food Standards Agency.

Howard Shaw, prosecuting for the CPS on behalf of Defra, told the court the footage revealed, “a large number of sheep were caused to suffer unnecessarily”.

Under the halal code, animals are supposed to be killed quickly, with a single sweep of a surgically-sharp knife. They should not see the knife before they are slaughtered, or witness the death of other animals.

But the Animal Aid video revealed how many of those practices were being flouted.

Its secretly installed spy cameras showed staff taunting the animals, waving knives in front of them, smacking them on the head and shouting at them.

Halal slaughtermen admit causing unnecessary suffering to animals after secret footage of halal killing showed workers hacking and sawing at sheep's throats
Cruel slaughterman Artur Lewandowski taunts a sheep at Bowood Farms Ltd

Halal slaughtermen admit causing unnecessary suffering to animals after secret footage of halal killing showed workers hacking and sawing at sheep's throats
The halal code also states that animals be allowed to lose consciousness for 30 seconds before being moved on to the next stage of slaughter in a bid to minimise suffering.

But footage showed slaughtermen Kazam Hussain and Kabir Hussain waiting between one and 11 seconds before the animals were sent on to be strung up by their back legs on the processing line, still conscious.

Halal slaughtermen admit causing unnecessary suffering to animals after secret footage of halal killing showed workers hacking and sawing at sheep's throats
Callous and disrespectful slaughtermen Kabeer Hussain and Kazam Hussain from Bradford

Animal Aid footage played to the court showed at one point Kazam and Kabir dancing and singing as they killed the sheep.

The footage also showed conveyor belt operator, Artur Lewandowski picking a sheep up by its fleece at the neck and at one point pulling his fist back as if to punch a sheep which was resisting, as it was sent towards the area where they were killed.

Cruel slaughterman Artur Lewandowski, originally from Poland but currently of Darlington, Co Durham
Artur Lewandowski, originally from Poland but currently of Darlington, Co Durham

Mr Shaw told the court: “There’s one incident where the sheep is struggling. He draws back his fist in a punching motion but doesn’t actually punch the sheep.

“He almost throws the animal on to the conveyor belt by its fleece.”

The court heard that the two slaughtermen were professionally qualified and licensed and killed the sheep in accordance with regulations on halal slaughter when watched by the on-site vet, Pedro Benitez.

But Mr Benitez had witnessed animals being given less than 20 seconds to lose consciousness the previous year on the abattoir’s CCTV system and raised his concerns with director William Woodward.

Mr Woodward’s response was to accuse him of “spying” and lodge a complaint against Mr Benitez with the Food Standards Agency. He also refused to allow him further access to the room where the CCTV monitor was situated.

The undercover footage by Animal Aid provoked a national uproar, sparking protests outside the premises and condemnation from the Muslim Council of Britain.

The Government has now introduced legislation that makes CCTV mandatory in slaughterhouses.

In sentencing, District Judge Marie Mallon told former director Woodward: “It was your business. The suffering was extreme, and it wasn’t an isolated incident.”

William Woodward – 20-week suspended prison sentence; ordered to pay £5,080 towards prosecution costs.

Artur Lewandowski – 150 hours of unpaid work;  ordered to pay costs of £160.

Kabeer Hussain – 16-week suspended prison sentence; ordered to pay £580 costs.

Kazam Hussain – 18-week suspended prison sentence; ordered to pay £580 costs.

Two other slaughtermen were identified in the covert footage, who the court heard would also have faced animal cruelty charges, but they left the UK.

A charge against another company director Robert Woodward was dropped after no evidence was offered by the prosecution.

Bowood Farms Ltd went into administration on December 2015 and has since been dissolved.

Northern Echo

Worton, Cassington, Oxfordshire: David and Anneke Blake plus Jenejio Marques Fidel

#TheList David K Blake and Anneke Maria Blake, owners of the Worton Organic Garden, Worton, near Cassington OX29 4SU and their employee, Jenejio Marques Fidel – for the illegal and inhumane slaughter of a ten-week-old piglet

Photo shows David and Anneke Blake and their employee Jenejio Marques Fidel
David and Anneke Blake trading as Worton Organic Garden and their employee Jenejio Marques Fidel

The piglet had its feet bound before being illegally slaughtered in a way that inspectors said would cause a ‘prolonged death’.

The business owners David and Anneke Blake appeared alongside their employee Jenejio Marques Fidel, who carried out the unusual slaughter.

The court heard how officers from Oxfordshire Trading Standards first visited the farm in May 2017 after getting a complaint about illegal slaughter of animals.

When asked about the slaughtering of pigs, the Blakes admitted to the slaughtering of a 10-week-old piglet by Marques.

The court was shown the knife which Marques used to kill the pig.

They revealed the method of slaughter was by binding the feet of the pig then stabbing it through the heart.

This method of slaughter was identified by a Defra veterinary officer as leading to a ‘prolonged death’ and causing ‘distress and unnecessary suffering’.

The meat from the pig was then sold and eaten at the farm cafe, despite not complying with UK food safety legislation.

When officers went back for a second visit, they discovered evidence of medicines being used to treat pigs for worms.

But when questioned, Mr Blake admitted he did not keep any records on administering the medicines – a requirement under the Veterinary Medicines Regulations.

Again, the regulations are intended to ‘ensure the integrity’ and safety of food destined for human consumption.

The Blakes and Marques all pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and were apologetic for their actions, which they said was out of ignorance of the law.

They also gave assurances that they would follow the legal requirements in future.

David and Anneke Blake and their employee all admitted failing to comply with regulations relating to the welfare of animals at the time of killing. David Blake also admitted to failing to record details of veterinary medicinal products.

Oxfordshire County Council cabinet member for trading standards Judith Heathcoat said: “Rules are in place around the slaughter of animals and the keeping of livestock records for very good reasons, ensuring the safety and integrity of our food chain, not forgetting the need to prevent unnecessary suffering to animals.

“The vast majority of livestock keepers maintain very good farming standards and we will not tolerate those who undermine the system.”

David Blake – fined a total of £664 and ordered to pay £2,000 court costs and a £38 victim surcharge.

Anneke Blake – fined £230 and ordered to pay £1,000 costs and a £30 victim surcharge.

Marques, who gave his address as Rectory Cottage, Worton,  was fined £150 and ordered to pay a £30 victim surcharge.

Oxford Mail