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Animal cruelty claims at Tasmanian abattoir probed after video leaked

Thu 4 May 2017 by Matthew Denholm (The Australian)

This article relates to the following facility: Tasmanian Quality Meats Abattoir (Aussie Abattoirs)

Disturbing footage of calves being tossed and struck at a Tasmanian abattoir has been released by animal rights activists, who say authorities have failed to act on the evidence for six months.

Animal Liberation released the footage this morning, alleging breaches of animal welfare standards at the Tasmanian Quality Meats abattoir in Cressy, northern Tasmania.

Abattoir owner Brian Oliver told local radio he conceded the incidents occurred late last year but said the workers responsible no longer worked the slaughter house, which was “reviewing” its procedures.

“I have to say that yes, that has happened, but can I say that is footage that is taken out of 66 hours of hidden cameras of actual work time,” Mr Oliver said.

The video, posted online, appears to show calves being routinely struck with paddles and poly-pipes and being thrown into a V-restraint, before being slaughtered.

Animal Liberation Tasmania campaign director Mehr Gupta said the state Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment had failed to act on the footage, despite being presented with it in December last year.

“This is the second time in just over six months that DPIPWE has been shown evidence of animal cruelty under their care, and the second time they have failed to act,” Ms Gupta said.

“They are choosing to turn a blind eye to cruelty and by doing so are partly to blame for the cruelty we are repeatedly seeing in footage.”

Tasmania’s Primary Industries Minister Jeremy Rockliff told state parliament a copy of the footage was given to Biosecurity Tasmania on Friday and an investigation had begun. “(The video) does show possible acts of animal cruelty, and that matter will be thoroughly investigated,” he said.

Ms Gupta said the latest alleged “breach” of animal welfare standards was the 13th by an Australian abattoir in the past five years and the second in Tasmania in less than a year.

Last year, activists alleged cruelty at an abattoir in Gretna, in the Derwent Valley, and Ms Gupta said the results of a DPIPWE investigation had still not been released.