Four halal slaughter men have had their operating licences suspended after Animal Aid covertly filmed a catalogue of vicious cruelty at Bowood Lamb abattoir, Thirsk, North Yorkshire.

Under current British law all animals must be humanely stunned before their throats are cut, to minimise suffering. However our Government allows controversial exemptions for some religious slaughter, such as halal, an aspect that many feel is putting political correctness before compassion.

The filming at Bowood, carried out over three days in December showed multiple examples of sheep being deliberately mistreated before their deaths, something the slaughter men found amusing, before the Food Standards Agency (FSA), which is supposed to regulate standards at slaughterhouses, suspended them and then launched a belated investigation. A spokesperson (anonymous) claimed that they took animal welfare at abattoirs “very seriously”.

Kate Fowler, head of campaigns at Animal Aid (not anonymous) said that the cruelties were “inexcusable” and pointed out that the Government-appointed vets that were supposed to be on hand at abattoirs the size of Bowood were conspicuous by their absence over the three days. She also pointed out that Animal Aid recognised that there was a risk that the publication of their filming would stir up anti-Muslim feeling, but that withholding it would betray their key mission, to expose and combat animal cruelty.

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