Renowned animal advocacy charity Animal Justice Project is hitting out the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) over a decision not to prosecute the UK’s largest duck producer. The move’s come following an undercover slaughterhouse investigation on the duck farm last year that unearthed ‘horrific abuse’.
Shocking scenes filmed on duck farm
Secret cameras were put up inside a Gressingham Foods facility last year. Annually, it is understood to kill over 14 million birds.
The site supplies leading supermarkets including Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Tesco, and Morrisons. Additionally, the firm is accredited by the regulatory body Red Tractor Assurance.
And Animal Justice Project says the footage revealed a ‘total disregard for the ducks’ well-being’. They also allege the farm had broken the law.
Ducks believed to be dead were thrown down a chute, others ‘discarded like trash’. Moreover, animals that should’ve been stunned were ‘left suffering’ as they were shackled upside down.
Whilst regulations call for birds to be shackled in the slaughtering machines for a maximum of two minutes, Animal Justice Project reveals many are left shackled upside down for a staggering 12-14.
This allegedly breaches 1099/2099 EU regulations designed to protect animals at the time of killings.
Animal welfare law specialist Professor Andrew Knight brands shackling ‘inhumane’. Knight adds: “[Shackling] is an unnatural position, and exerts considerable force on the bones and soft tissues of the legs and feet.
“Birds ready for slaughter are heavy – particularly ducks. This can and does result in fractures and other injuries, and is extremely stressful.”
However, following Animal Justice Project’s investigation, the Crown Prosecution Service reportedly told the organization it wouldn’t prosecute. This is because it is ‘not in the public interest’.
The shackling also breaches the UK’s Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing (WATOK) regulations. Moreover, Gressingham Foods was served with major animal welfare non-compliance notices three years ago by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
As a result, the FSA plans to take action and will appeal, Animal Justice Claims.
Additionally, the animal charity launched a petition to help support its position. Currently, over 50,000 people have signed ahead of the 75,000 goal.
The organization says it highlights the systems failure to protect animals, and shows how a large corporation now faces ‘minimal consequences’.
In a statement sent to PBN, Animal Justice Project added: “We must always demand that action is taken, and over 50,000 members of the public have agreed with us.
“Gressingham Foods must be prosecuted. We urgently call for justice for Gressingham ducks.”
This article was updated on 05/09/21 to include a statement from Animal Justice Project