Slaughter logs – a look at animal welfare breaches

Slaughter is always a difficult topic, and often the public just don’t want to know how animals killed for meat are treated before death.

I started to look at slaughterhouses, and obtained details of breaches of animal welfare rules from the Food Standards Agency. Some relate to transportation to the abattoirs, and some during slaughter itself.

I’ll update this post as I look through some of the unlocked data in the three spreadsheets and think more about what I can do.

In the meantime, feel free to take a look.

Below are four documents you can download. The first is the response to the Freedom of Information (FOI) response I received from the Food Standards Agency, while the others are the animal welfare reporting sheets.

The logs show a number of cases of animal welfare abuse, including animals being hit over the head, or kicked by slaughterhouse workers.

In a number of cases, inspectors were concerned after large numbers of animals arrived at the abattoir dead, due to conditions on the journey.

While a number of animals were suffering injuries before they arrived, including lame cattle, sheep with broken legs, and birds with broken wings.

Campaigners have told me that slaughterhouses are intimidating places, with fairly junior vets often reluctant to raise too many complaints against workers.

It’s not clear therefore if logs like this give an accurate picture of abuse inside abattoirs, or whether they are just the tip of the iceberg.

A campaign is currently underway for compulsory CCTV within slaughterhouses, but so far the Government seems reluctant to agree.

As I continue to look at this, feel free to comment or contact me if you have anything to add.


Slaughter logs – data

FSA animal welfare FOI response

Annex B

Annex C

Annex D

If this is an area you have information about, get in touch.


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Guy Basnett is an investigative journalist and reporter. He has held the posts of Chief Reporter at The Journal, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Features Writer at the News of the World, and Deputy Features Editor at the News of the World. He was awarded Young Reporter of the Year at the Press Gazette Regional Press Awards 2006, shortlisted for Reporter of the Year at the British Press Awards 2009, and shortlisted for Young Journalist of the Year at the British Press Awards 2010. He currently works in the Investigations Unit of Channel 4 News.


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