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According to Animal Aid, the video shows ‘a number of shocking incidents, that would have added to the suffering already caused by the horrific slaughter process’.
In the compilation shared to YouTube, workers hit the cows with what appears to be a pipe, a gate is closed on an animal, and one cow left in isolation for long periods of time.
Commenting on what he described as a ‘standard flexible plastic pipe’, facility manager Kevin Hooper told The Times: “Every farmer throughout Europe has one and that’s the way they [the cattle] are used to being moved on the farm: tap, tap, tap.”
The two men can also be heard talking in the video – one of whom appears to make light of the situation.
Speaking to a co-worker, he says: “Don’t hesitate. You’re hesitating.”
Someone laughs, and he adds: “Do you want some Christmas beef?”
‘We are kind’
Hooper maintained that not all staff members treat the animals this way, and that a man pictured in the video has had his slaughter license suspended.
He said: “People come to us because we are kind. Smallholders don’t want to go to big places where the animals are kept waiting.
“We have never been reported for anything and all our welfare reports are very good.”
Following the release of the video, a criminal investigation has been launched by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
Speaking to DevonLive, a representative of the organization said: “The Food Standards Agency takes animal welfare at abattoirs very seriously and a criminal investigation is under way.
“Our veterinary staff reviewed the footage received from Animal Aid and appropriate action was taken within 24 hours.”