Undercover Investigation Shows Harrowing Footage Inside UK Slaughterhouses

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Although the UK has seen a significant drop in meat consumption since 2005, more than 893 million animals are still killed for meat each year in the country, often in horrific ways. Shocking footage taken by Animal Aid has revealed numerous cases of horrendous animal abuse in UK slaughterhouses, two of which could now face prosecution.

The appalling footage shows slaughterhouse workers repeatedly shocking terrified pigs on the ears, snout and body. Workers were also seen throwing and beating screaming and terrified animals and kicking them in the face as they struggled to stay alive. The tongs delivering the electric shock are meant to be held across an animal’s head for three to four seconds, rendering the animal unconscious. This was clearly not done; pigs received excruciating shocks whilst remaining fully conscious and flailing on the ground. The footage shows ewes who are stunned with complete disregard for their still-suckling lambs, and mothers are forced to watch their young being murdered.

Petrified animals are herded into the stun pen and forced to watch their companions suffer this abuse. In their terrified state, they repeatedly run at walls in a desperate attempt to escape their fate. At least two sheep are seen leaping through a hatch into the blood pit below – a sign of pure desperation. Animals struggle to escape the shackles once they are hoisted onto an overhead conveyor to have their throats cut, and one pig is seen falling headfirst onto the floor below. Cattle are “stunned” by means of a bolt gun, which fires a small rod into the skull. However, all too often the aim is inaccurate, leaving the cows wounded and struggling.

Following the release of this footage, the Food Standards Agency investigated. As a result of these investigations, four staff members at three abattoirs lost their slaughtering licences and four more had their licences suspended. Whilst this is a positive step, these atrocities are not the exception; similar abuse has been seen in six out of the seven slaughterhouses investigated and is almost certainly occurring in slaughterhouses across the country. Time and time again, welfare regulations were flaunted, and slaughterhouse workers showed absolutely no sign of compassion or consideration for animals.

One of the slaughterhouses investigated, Sturminster Newton in Dorset, which provides major suppliers such as Sainsbury’s, is owned by Anglo Beef Processors, one of the UK’s largest beef companies, which also supplies Asda. Sainsbury’s says it has now suspended all supplies from Sturminster.

These animals are sentient beings capable of feeling fear and pain just as you and I do, and when they are trapped in slaughterhouses, they are desperate to escape. Many form strong bonds, and the footage shows animals apparently trying to defend their companions from further suffering. These innocent beings are slaughtered for human consumption, left at the mercy of cold and uncaring slaughterhouse workers and subjected to appalling treatment before being mercilessly killed. Switching to a vegetarian or vegan diet is a healthy choice, but more importantly, it is a compassionate choice, reducing the demand for meat and ultimately saving the lives of animals.



  • KT commented on July 7, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    I can’t just put into words how disgusted I am at the cruelty that happens in slaughterhouses, those poor animals.


    • ethicalfarmer commented on April 19, 2012 at 11:41 am

      The actions of these slaughter men are unforgivable. There is no getting away from that. They should be prosecuted and prohibited for working in slaughter houses.
      I rear rare breed animals for food. Pigs, Cattle and poultry. I care for my animals and give them the best life I can. They get to feel the sun on their backs and root around in gods good earth. The pigs have wallows and shade to escape the Summer sun. In the Winter they have warm inside accommodation.
      When their time comes I go with my animals to our “nearest” slaughter house. I am with them when they are born and with them when they die. They are not mistreated. It would be better for them to die on the farm, as it was in the old days,but I am not allowed to do that ! Far less stressful than transportation to the Abattoir. All of my animal is consumed, as it should be. Nothing is wasted.
      Traditionally produced food is the way forward. That means farmers need animals for their manure to fertilise the land. Most fruit and veg is produced in a monoculture environment with the prodigious use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. Hence colony collapse disorder of bees in America. Your vegan diet is unsustainable without farm animals.
      If you really want to help animals then do two things, because you will never succeed in turning the majority of the public vegan.
      1. Lobby against all supermarkets. They encourage intensive farming of animals where corners may be cut for profit to enable the production of cheap food. two chickens for a fiver ? It takes 36-39 days to produce a supermarket chicken. It takes me 5 months !
      2. Encourage local shopping and small scale ethical food production and slaughterhouses. E U legislation has caused the closure of smaller traditional unit.s
      Now get busy with your Vitriol and pick holes in this or start to open your minds and target the champaign !

      • Claire Willcox commented on September 26, 2016 at 4:35 pm

        I wish all farmers produced meat the ay you do and also wish they they could be killed on site. I then would eat meat. ATM there is no way to differentiate between ethical farmers who produce meat the way you do and non ethical omes. Until then, I’ll stay vegetarian

    • janey bright commented on July 3, 2012 at 11:11 am

      Humans were designed to be omnivores and I believe we have a duty to care for all the animals on the planet. I am not a vegan or vegetarian. I eat meats from ethicall farmers who care for their animals and ensure their life is as natural as it should be and their death is painfree and compassionate. If we all became vegan these animals would eventually become extinct. Surely we have no right to do this?

      • Sarah Hague commented on November 22, 2015 at 10:44 pm

        …rather become extinct than let them have a terrible existence as all battery farm animals do! How anyone can watch an undercover video showing the appalling cruelty in the slaughterhouse,and still want to eat meat, is beyond me, truly….I personally feel physically sick, and heart-broken at what I see…..it should end and much tougher sentences be given to workers who abuse animals!!

      • Stephen snell commented on May 16, 2016 at 6:55 am

        Truly, they should be imprisoned. Study after study shows sadism is sadism. If they enjoy suffering they would enjoy it on a person. Maybe it’d take them getting over their ‘nerves’ and time to make the jump. But one the few things child abusers and serial killers have in common with each other is their increased likelihood to have tortured animals previously. It’s time we realise, violence for fun is never acceptable.

    • Coral woolcock commented on June 16, 2016 at 2:12 am

      This is deplorable do the slaughter men harden so much to do these things why isn’t it inspected by random and fucking stopped

  • Natalie Le Neve commented on July 12, 2010 at 9:57 am

    SICK SICK SICK!! god this makes me so angry and upset i just want to run in there and let these poor terrified creatures escape!! how dare the sick staff treat these poor innocent creatures like this, there should be a law in EVERY COUNTRY in the world that has to follow proper guidlines where the animals are always stunned properly 1st for the proper time required so it does not feel ANY PAIN and in no way shape or form should a living animal be placed in the same pen as the others that are getting brutally slain!!! how horrific!! jesus you can imagine how absolutely terrified they must be feeling knowing that there next!! ime ashamed to be human i really am, if there was a god he would not allow this to happen, i hope those who dish out this cruelty go to hell seriously!!!

    • Jessica commented on July 27, 2011 at 2:28 am

      I feel the same way Natalie, sick, angry and very very upset i ashamed of beeing a human..

  • Lana V commented on July 14, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    Clearly those slaughter men have some mental problems. I think every person who applies for this kind of work must go through some mental health assessment. We can’t have cruel murderers to be working with our animals. CCTV is a must on every farm/slaughterhouse. And people who found to be guilty of such cruelty must be imprisoned for a long while, not just suspended.

  • Angelo Williams commented on July 14, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    I agree it is disgusting t treat animals like this and anyone who agrees with it should go to a white padded cell because they have serious problems

  • claire commented on July 14, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    How disgusting so glad I don’t eat ”meat” aka the dead bodies of miserable,terrifed animals. I wish these videos were shown to everyone and they should be shown in schools to stop people eating meat. People are pure evil sometimes.

  • jp commented on July 14, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    These animals are slaughtered by mindless ‘thugs’ to meet the glutenous ‘requirements of todays so called animal loving society. The whole system is revolting… I also think kids should be educated about what happens to the creatures that provide their meat and dairy products, then they’d have the opportunity to make informed choices about what they eat, I’m sure there would be many more veggies!

  • Tucker commented on July 15, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    I AM SOOO P.OFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Anna Burman commented on July 17, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    I agree with Lana V whole heartedly. Slaughterhouse workers are the last humans these animals see and they should be treated with respect. CCTV cameras are a must in these places to route out the cruel workers who terrorise these poor animals in their last minutes, they should be imprisoned for their cruelty. I hope not all slaughter houses are like this. Where are the bosses, they obviously don’t care what goes on and should never be allowed to have anything to do with animals if they allow this sort of cruelty to go on.

  • Tony Sandy commented on July 23, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    In America most slaughterhouses are run on a method developed by Temple Grandin, of Colorado University’s animal husbandry department. This needs to be exported to the UK, the continent and anywhere else where animals are treated as ‘animals’. She’s autistic and this gave her an advantage over ordinary people as she was able to understand the animals predicament and adjust the way they’re handled, so it was more humane and less distressful for them. Usually I’m not very keen on anything American but in this case, we need to import this technology to overcome the gross negligence and ignorance perpetrated on these poor beasts, by those not willing to give them the time of day or a dignified end.

    • Theresa commented on October 7, 2011 at 9:17 pm

      Cruelty is not just in the slaughter houses and is not better at all over in the US – I skype and game talk with many from the US and they seem to revel in upsetting me by telling me of the weekly target practice with their kids on the woodland animals – ‘practice’ means literally that, bad shots injuring animals and also recently the fact that it is common practice for them to round up stray cats to use as bait for shark fishing! There is so much more that goes on over there outside of the slaughter houses and its all legal. What goes on here is bad enough but what I hear from other parts leaves me dead inside – I have been so naive most of my life – believing people were as caring and considerate as myself towards animals and humankind alike – how the hell did I get to my 50’s and not realise this was so wrong before now – this needs to be got out into the media somehow to reach everyone

  • Katie commented on September 2, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    I am so proud to be a veggie, I think we eat way to much meat in this country and treat the animals we eat in slaughter houses atrociously, if your going to kill animals for food atleast do it in a humane way that can slightly justify what you are doing as a job, actully you cant justify it! Killing animals for food is a crime and should be classed as murder, like it is when animals hurt humans!

    • Mal commented on December 18, 2012 at 8:13 pm

      What about animals killing animals? Such as a buzzard killing a field mouse?

  • Eileen Young commented on September 3, 2010 at 11:55 pm

    I know it is a big mistake to think that animals in slaughter houses in the USA are treated any better than in the U.K. Believe me it is just as bad and sometimes even worse. Factory Farms are also as bad. You have to look at PETA’s videos of American slaughter houses to know that it is the same. These places should have Video monitering that anyone can look at to make sure that humane practices are followed. These men I hope will burn in Hell in the end. As Sir Paul McCartney says, “If slaughter houses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian. Thank God for PETA, and everyone that works so hard to end the cruelty to animals. These videos just break my heart. It is so hard to comprehend that human beings can seem to enjoy this sadistic cruelty to innocent animals. I wouldn’t trust them near any children or pets. Can you imagine being married to such a vicious cruel person? Ugh.

  • Bobbie commented on September 4, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    I am so sorry for these animals, I cried for those poor pigs and every other animal that is inhumanely treated or killed in such barbaric ways. I do not eat meat because of this. I get critized for it but if I feel I shouldn’t have to defend myself it is no ones business. I’m doing everything I can. I know people still want to eat meat why can’t these people just stop the way they kill animals it’s heartbreaking………

  • Ellie commented on October 29, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    OMG.. i am a 13 yr old VEGAN and i am devastated HOW COULD WE DO THIS???? the human race is PURE EVIL!!!! god bless all you non- human animals who die each day each second, each week, each month, each year adn each decade. i <3 u all!!!! xx

  • Phoebe Sharpe commented on November 1, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    I’ve been crying over the effects of what people do to animals!!! I will most certainly sign up!! I probaly am younger than most people still being child but I wish some people will just believe what I have said about the slaughter houses. We have an abatwa in our town center it smells disgusting and I can’t even imagine how painful it would be for the dear animals.

  • Hywel commented on November 16, 2010 at 9:21 am

    I’m a free range pig farmer and understand the need for meat in the country – when done properly. Most vegetables are grown by monoculture, decreasing biodiversity, whereas livestock increases it. However I think some of the ways in which animals are killed/grown in commercial farms are horrendous and I’m so glad organisations help to catch sick people like the man in the video. I try not to become attached to my animals as I understand what has to be done, but to think someone might torture and slaughter an animal like this makes me furious. I’ve studied animal welfare and I’m so glad inspections and animal organisations close down abbatoirs and slaughter houses that treat animals like they do in the video. The only thing I’d ask is that they educate people in the slaughter of animals when its done right. Using corridor systems the animal stress is reduces as they don’t know whats happening and simple follow the animal in front. They also don’t see what is happening. Special clamps are used to hold the animal without causing as much stress and the stunning equipment can be placed correctly and for the right amount of time (like it says in the video). I cannot see why battery fen farming, excessive dairy farming, sow crates and the like are still used when there are much better free range or small commercial systems to produce sufficient food. Support these farmers because they care about their animals – they just understand there is a job that has to be done.

  • Hywel commented on November 16, 2010 at 9:37 am

    Just to help show people what its like when done properly there’s two videos here on youtube from a Candian expert who has designed humane slaughter systems balancing the need of the slaughterhouse/farmer with the need of the animal. I’ve put the times that the video shows the stunning system and (there are lots of pictures but at these parts there are videos). If abbatoirs were funded they could be enforced to build such systems and the welfare of animals at slaughter would increase dramatically:


    2min 36 sec


    1min 40

  • Ian commented on December 2, 2010 at 6:24 am

    As a suckler cow farmer, I have a closed home bred herd of cows. Some of my bloodlines are 80 years old. All cows have names, which they respond to! and get the best of everything irrespective of cost.
    I do not kill my old cows when they are too old to breed,many reach over 20yrs old, they live out their lives naturally until they decide they have had enough,then they are dealt with by injection NOT captive bolt!!!.
    The progeny are sent to the slaughterhouse and are dealt with efficiently and professionally and are closely monitored by RSPCA and FARM ASSURANCE inspectors.
    Please remember that, if everyone went vegan then it would be the demise of ALL livestock on farms,fair enough they might say BUT what then happens to the countryside? as there will be no livestock left to control it!. Livestock will disappear overnight if there is no market for meat, resulting in deserted overgrown weedinfested wastelands of farms!. That will do a lot for the tourist industry wont it!!
    Not to mention the loss of millions of pounds of revenue to the treasury, its a fine balance I know. Perhaps if smaller scale family orientated farms like mine were the norm where individual animal care was top priority then there would be a lot less of factory farming which is to be hard nosed, more cost effective.
    I dont know the answers,sorry.
    I just know about what I do and I do it to the best of my ability.
    As a footnote, my vet said that “if there was life after death,she would want to come back to my farm as a cow”!, I cant think of a better endorsement than than that for my duty of care to my animals!!.
    Thank you for reading this,

    • Mal commented on December 18, 2012 at 8:21 pm

      Not to mention that if we were all vegetarian the soil would be depleted of nutrients and not replenished by the animal’s waste, and, as has already been mentioned, bio diversity would be reduced.

      What is needed, as you have rightly pointed out, is for farming to return to its natural state as a small scale industry. Whilst I do eat meat, I think we as a species should drastically reduce our consumption; both for the welfare of animals, and also our health – too much of anything is not good for us. In my opinion.

  • Liisa Markkanen commented on December 30, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    I agree with Lana V and Anna Burman. People who apply to work in slaughterhouses should have a mental health assessment.

    They should be given clear, thorough training until they know what’s right and wrong.
    Most importantly there should be a manager to each factory/slaughterhouse who keeps an eye on CCTV to make sure animals are treated respectfully and humanely.

    I’m also really proud to be a vegetarian and to support Peta! I can’t wait to make a difference to the lives of these innocent animals for good.

  • Robin S Challacombe commented on January 21, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    I eat meat, I shoot animals and eat them, but seeing animals suffer like this makes me very upset.
    I’m not going to stop eating meat but I am glad these people got fired and in my eyes they should go to prison.

  • MICHELE HOLMES commented on February 15, 2011 at 4:21 pm


  • Charlotte Khennaf commented on July 29, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    SICK SICK SICK human craving for meat. Humans are not even natural born carnivorous. No difference between homicidal cannibalism, or making the choice to eat the meat from a slaughtered animal. Both are equally disgusting.

    • Mal commented on December 18, 2012 at 8:24 pm

      What about animals that eat other animals? Would you still consider that cannibalism?

      I do eat meat, but, having watched a number of videos like this one, I will no longer eat meat from a slaughterhouse. I shall continue to eat only animals that I kill. That way I can be sure that they are killed swiftly, and with dignity.

  • iesha commented on November 3, 2011 at 11:10 am

    i have always eaten meat but became a vegetarian this year,
    this abuse is disgusting and has to stop. the slaughter of these animals is supposed to be ‘quick and painless’ but it is just draged out unnecessarty suffering for these animals.
    what happened to the Organic farming of animals where they are allowed to live naturally? breed, lay eggs, have families.
    although i wouldn’t force my vegetarinism view onto anybody else, i do believe people should be informed of the crueltys that go on in this slaughter houses. if poeple new where thier meat actually came from and how it was killed they may be more inclined to become vegetarian/vegan or even take steps to ensure the meat they do eat has come from farms and slaughter houses where the death is humane and the life of the animals was how it should be.

  • Sarah commented on November 15, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    I really hope that this changes for the animals. They need to be treated with love and care – even if their fate is death. These poor things should not have to go through this.

  • Lydia commented on January 4, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    While this is so shocking and disgusting and sick and wrong in so many ways it does not mean a vegan diet is the only compassionate solution. The human race has been hunting animals for thousands of years and meat is a necessary part of our natural diet, it just has to be farmed humanely and respectfully. For instance, what about free range farming? The meat I eat is ALWAYS bought free range, and I make sure that restaurants I eat at or food I order supports and buys its produce free range as well. Eating meat is not evil, torturing animals for it is. There is a difference and once places like this are shut down then there will be room to make that difference.

    • Jared commented on January 4, 2012 at 1:17 pm

      Yes, yes, free range is best – sadly that’s bullshit Lydia.. so is organic, feel free to Google Free Range Myths, or Organic Food Myths.. the best option to reduce suffering is to go vegan and educate others

    • Mal commented on December 18, 2012 at 8:29 pm

      Whilst I completely disagree with Jared – in nature there are carnivores, herbivores and omnivores, and we simply have a choice – you will find that, regardless of the label – i.e organic – the animal will still have to go through one of the major slaughterhouses where such labels are not distinguished. Killing your own, or buying directly from one who does, is the only way to be sure.

  • MinnieBardot1 commented on July 21, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Couldnt watch the video have seen too many sickening videos this week in these awful abbatoirs. My heart breaks listening to the screams of all these defenseless animals, knowing the pain they must be in. Its heartbreaking to see the sheer terror on their poor faces knowing there is nothing they can do. These men working in these torture chambers who continue to inflict more cruelty than needed are definatly mentally SICK people. They need to be locked up!!
    We have the RSPCA here in UK who are here to impose penalties on animal cruelty such as removing animals from abusers and taking them to court etc yet we have the slaughter houses and animal testing labs etc (all ova the world) cruelly torturing and inhumanly killing animals every second of every day. When will it finally end?? We need to encourage a veggie lifestyle and stop the torture 4eva!! This torture and cruel killing is all about one thing MONEY. Go veggie for the sake of our beautiful animals!!

  • Grace S. commented on August 12, 2012 at 10:31 am

    This is the sort of thing that makes me feel really ashamed to be a human being, I feel so bad for all the lives being held prisoners by the human race and know that it should be stopped. If the situation was reversed, no one would cope because humans are weak and pathetic!

  • ezra commented on November 1, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    this is gross and unnatural but there are other solutions than going vegan. you could farm your own animals to eat and get milk from and such and boycott the mass produced animal factories. i love meat to much to give it up entirely, but some things that happen in society are discusting and unnessisary.

  • Mal commented on December 18, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    Quite often the knee jerk reaction to seeing such abominable cruelty is to ‘go vegetarian.’ Whilst this satisfies the unnerving feeling we feel, it is simply a knee jerk reaction. If we were all vegetarian, the earth would struggle to provide us with all the food we need. Firstly, the soil would be depleted of nutrients, and, without the rich manure to replenish it, it would not be long until the top soil would be completely worthless – unless of course you want to rely on Monsanto. More rain forests would be cut down to grow the soya bean for your veggi sausages, as well as palm oil that is used as a cooking oil. Health would be reduced, as not many people actually understand how to live vegetarian, and so on. What I am saying is that CRUELTY is the issue here, not eating meat. We have eaten meat for thousands of years. Treating animals with the utmost respect and giving them the very best of life ensures a healthy diet for us omnivores and carnivores. If people want to be a vegetarian, then I support them too.

  • katy commented on May 17, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    its disgusting, I hate it so much it makes me so angry. I’ve reds recently become vegetarian because the guilt was killing me. We dont have to eat meat, so why cant we all just eat other things with protein in it? Eugh so sad

  • Deian Mountbatten commented on September 8, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    Eating meat is cannibalism. The United Kingdom should make an example for a future human society free of cannibalism. Close down all slaughter houses immediately now. It’s about time.

  • John Smith commented on December 4, 2013 at 11:51 am

    Interesting the use of the word ‘murdered’ in the second paragraph. The Oxford Dictionary of English (and indeed the law in the United Kingdom) defines murder as follows: ‘the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another’. As in this case the victim was an animal, it cannot be defined as ‘murder’. This is a classic example of Peta showing it is emotionally driven and trying to guilt people into supporting their cause by incorrectly using words with such negative connotations as ‘murder’. I for one refuse to be emotionally manipulated in this way. The fact of the matter is that in this case wrong was being done and the perpetrators will be punished., just as they would in any other aspect of life. This is not representative o the meet industry as a whole.

  • M commented on August 22, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    Stop the Slighter House. It’s wrong too kill any of Jeovah s God s Animals very wrong too kill. So stop you don’t want too kill your Children that is what you are doing.

  • carole blake commented on March 21, 2016 at 10:08 am

    What is being done about this disgusting treatment of these poor animals? CCTV and regular checks might help.

  • Julia commented on April 25, 2016 at 11:59 am

    Aw… I didn’t know.

    I didn’t know what we are doing, why we eat meat and whats going on around really.

    I never stopped to even think about it, didn’t even came to me where all of this is coming from. I was always very ignorant about calories, fibers, sugar free and food in general. I never knew what people are talking about.

    Food was food, lots in the shops.
    Indigence, where is it come from – who has a time for it?

    I didn’t even know what’s vegan. I had a picture of some kind flower power kids.

    Yeah, ignorant and hypocrite.

    Until last week….

    OMG! We sick to the bone!
    I’ve never cried so much as I did in the past week and I’ve never spent so much time looking for the info about one topic.

    How can we do it?

    I feel sick, scammed, screwed, angry at myself, my parents for not educating me and sorry as hell. I cannot believe that it never crossed my mind.
    I feel like the world is square not round all of the sudden.
    If I would ever know or at least stopped to think about it, I would never touch anything from animals, ever.

    It has to be the way to stop this.

    There must be millions like me, people so busy with everyday nonsense who don’t even have a time to think about anything else.

    I knew we disgusting, I didn’t know how far we can go.

  • Y Peacock commented on May 31, 2016 at 10:40 am

    Horrific abuse haven’t there already suffered enough. Heart breaking to watch.

  • Jean robinson commented on June 23, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    U.K. Needs to get a grip on this we led the world in animal welfare now we are sliding into the same level as China

  • Dhashi commented on October 9, 2016 at 2:15 am

    This is absolute cruelty

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