In January and February of 2021, The Animal Justice Project carried out a two-month-long investigation inside a small, family-owned abattoir, G. & G. B. Hewitt in Cheshire. They exposed the horrific animal cruelty taking place and their blatant disregard for the regulations and procedures in place that slaughterhouses must follow to ‘supposedly protect animals.’ During the same time period, an industry-wide review of the Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing (WATOK) legislation took place. “The UK government stated that the review would “provide significant opportunity to identify/signpost key themes for improvement.” However, this violent footage clearly shows that drastic changes still need to be made in order to protect the welfare of animals.

This heartbreaking footage shows the cows and bulls who entered Hewitt slaughterhouse facing torment, violence, and abuse. Dairy cows who are no longer deemed profitable for milk, also known as ‘spent’ cows, are shown being forced to walk forward into the stunning chute where they were forced to face their tragic and painful death. The footage from The Animal Justice Project also shows “Two large bulls were viciously attacked for over 40 minutes by three workers, including the manager, simply because they were too frightened to move forward.” After being jabbed and shocked with electric prods, these animals were shot and killed. As the video continues, we see the manager violently grabbed sheep as he slits their throats, without stunning them beforehand. The film-makers at the Animal Justice Project explains that “Over 97% of the pigs and sheep slaughtered during our filming did not have their throats cut within the 15 second time period that the Food Standards Agency states – a further reason why sheep began to regain consciousness.” These innocent animals were tragically let down by a system that was designed to fail them.

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This disturbing and tragic video makes it clear that the CCTV (Closed-circuit television), also known as video surveillance, within the walls of slaughterhouses is extremely flawed and does almost nothing to deter non-compliance with regulations.

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