Three employees and a former company director have pleaded guilty to the unnecessary suffering of animals at Bowood Yorkshire Lamb slaughterhouse in North Yorkshire. The case has been adjourned until March 2 when the defendants will be sentenced.
This trial follows undercover filming by Animal Aid at the end of 2014, which revealed these incidences of animal cruelty. The animal campaigning group spent three days filming covertly, with fly-on-the-wall footage bringing this evidence to light. The animals were put through unnecessary suffering and abuse before their death, leading to the conviction of the four men.
Animal Aid’s director Isobel Hutchinson said: “We are heartened to hear that this long-running case, which involved appalling animal abuse, has finally moved towards a conclusion. However, we would urge the public to remember that this is not an isolated case.
“Over and over again, Animal Aid has filmed lawbreaking inside UK slaughterhouses. Whether stun, non-stun or even so-called ‘higher-welfare’ establishments, we have repeatedly found vulnerable animals being subjected to illegal abuse.” With this conviction, there is a clear message that those causing unnecessary abuse to animals will be caught and punished appropriately in light of their actions.
In America, Smithfield Foods inc, the largest processor of pork in the world has changed its policy on pregnant sows inhabiting gestation crates which are too small to allow them to move more freely around the enclosure. This practice has been fought against for years, which has seen more attention drawn to it in recent years.
The new enclosures have cost the company $360 million, but benefit the welfare of the animals drastically. Pigs are sociable and intelligent, meaning that this new method of group-housing is a step in the right direction for improved welfare standards. Ultimately, this situation is less than ideal with the end result being one that so many people disagree with, and obviously there is still a long way to go before more substantial changes are made, but this a positive step that the rest of the animal agriculture could learn from.