Reading Time: 2 minutes PETA filmed undercover in sheep shearing sheds across the UK (Photo: PETA)
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Vegan campaigners have released never-seen-before footage they say documents animal abuse on 49 farms across the UK.

The footage, acquired by animal rights charity PETA Asia, shows workers punching sheep in the face, slamming their heads into the floor,beating and kicking them, and throwing them off shearing trailers.

According to the charity, it has submitted more than seven hours of footage from the 49 farms visited to Trading Standards and the Scottish SPCA and filed detailed complaints of workers punching, beating, kicking, and stamping on sheep.

Scottish SPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn has confirmed he has ‘received reports of alleged abuse within wool farms in Scotland’ adding: “Our investigations are currently ongoing.”

Animal cruelty

“This new footage makes it clear that the cruelty we’ve captured on video is far from an anomaly, as the industry would like everyone to believe, and shows how shearing operations treat animals – something every shopper has a right to know,” PETA Asia Senior Vice President, Jason Baker, said in a statement sent to Plant Based News.

“When animals are viewed as commodities and their fear and pain are ignored, we must raise our voices and use our consumer clout to stop the abuse.”

The graphic footage shows animals being handled roughly

‘Not in Scotland’

When PETA released footage from the same investigation in October – showing sheep shearers in Scotland – NFU Scotland’s Animal Health and Welfare Policy Manager, Penny Middleton told The Scottish Farmer that it was investigating ‘the validity of the videos as the images shown do not reflect the standards expected on Scottish farms.

“We would support action being taken against the individuals shown, if these images are indeed from Scottish farms,” she added.

“Animal welfare is of the utmost importance to Scottish livestock farmers and the industry prides itself on achieving high standards of animal welfare. The behaviour shown in the PETA videos is by no means typical of shearing in Scotland.”

CCTV in sheep sheds

PETA has also asked Lord Gardiner of Kimble and Scottish Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment Mairi Gougeon to require that CCTV cameras be installed in sheep sheds in England and Scotland.

When PBN contacted the office of Lord Gardiner for comment on this story previously, a Defra spokesperson responded: “The UK has some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world and are going further, by raising maximum sentences for animal cruelty to five years.

“APHA takes potential breaches of animal welfare legislation very seriously and investigates all allegations. Where welfare regulations are breached, appropriate action will always be taken.”

The office of Mairi Gougeon has not yet responded to PBN‘s request for comment.

Maria Chiorando

Maria is a news and features writer for Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle. She was previously the editor of Plant Based News for over 3 years.