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Slaughterhouse staff who pleaded guilty to animal cruelty offences have been charged.
Three slaughtermen and one former company director from Bowood Yorkshire Lamb slaughterhouse, in Thirsk were sentenced on March 2 at Leeds Magistrates Court.
Three defendants received suspended prison sentences (between 16-20 weeks) and all were ordered to pay costs.
The case was brought against the men after animal rights group Animal Aid took undercover footage at the slaughterhouse.
The filming exposed sheep being picked up and thrown by their ears, legs, and fleeces. One worker was shown standing – and bouncing up and down on – a sheep’s neck.
Slaughterhouse workers painted spectacles on one sheep, and laughed as she bled to death. They were also seen taunting the sheep.
The company went into administration – with all staff being made redundant – six months after Animal Aid released the footage.
A spokesperson for animal rights group Animal Aid – which captured undercover footage of the cruelty – said the group was ‘disappointed’.
They added: “[It] does not reflect the severity of the abuse uncovered at Bowood.
“This involved horrendous incidents of cruelty meted out to defenceless animals.
“It is important to remember that this is not an isolated case. Time and time again our footage has revealed shocking abuse and lawbreaking across the industry, from ‘higher welfare’ to stun and non-stun slaughterhouses.”
They added: “These are production lines, staffed by workers who will inevitably become desensitised.
“Vulnerable animals are ‘processed’ against their will, bringing their short lives to an end prematurely.
“Slaughterhouses are violent and bloody places filled with suffering. Quite simply, there is no kind way to kill someone who wants to live. We urge anyone who is moved by this suffering to go vegan.”