A CREECH St Michael abattoir has admitted the standard of animal welfare filmed there by animal rights campaigners was “not satisfactory”.

A spokesman agreed that a slaughter man failed to stun a number of animals correctly with electric tongs before they were killed.

Bosses at AC Hopkins say they have removed the employee responsible from handling live animals.

But they deny the validity of some of the claims of inhumane practices levelled at the firm by Animal Aid, which filmed undercover in April.

Among incidents the charity recorded were:

*a ewe stunned as it suckled its lamb;

*a pig screaming on the floor after inadequate stunning;

*a number of animals not stunned sufficiently and simply receiving painful electric shocks;

*‘DEATH ROW’ daubed in red on a wall of the slaughterhouse, although there is no evidence who wrote it;

*animals slaughtered in front of other animals;

*animals apparently trying to escape from the slaughterer; *the slaughter man standing on a stunned pig.

The slaughtherhouse has accepted that some animals had been inadequately stunned and the operator had been suspended from dealing with live animals.

But they rejected any allegations that any of the other practices were unlawful or cruel.

Animal Aid director Andrew Tyler claimed the animals often suffered and experienced terror, while the stun operator appeared indifferent.

Mr Tyler added: “There is supposed to be a certification monitoring system in place at all times, so why wasn’t this picked up?

“Whenever problems of this sort are detected, the tendency is to point the finger and try to dispose of the problem by disposing of the person involved.

“The film clearly shows stressed, frightened animals and evidence of suffering – it isn’t humane, but it’s the reality of slaughter in Britain today.”

Stephen Lomax, representing Hopkins, of the Association of Independent Meat Suppliers, said Animal Aid by its very nature was hostile to the livestock industry.

He added: “The standard of animal welfare recorded at AC Hopkins by Animal Aid was not satisfactory.

“The employee in question had worked for the company for three months at the time, having worked for many years in a large abattoir which is now closed.

“The employee in question has been immediately removed from working with live animals despite the fact that he has a certificate of animal welfare training from his previous employer.

“A Meat Hygiene Service veterinary surgeon supervises all operations at all times when the plant is operating and AC Hopkins are surprised that the official veterinary apparently didn’t identify that standards of stunning were unsatisfactory.”

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