News and updates about Australian slaughterhouses / abattoirs
'Torture for fun': police given shocking abattoir footage
This article relates to the following facility: Inghams Tahmoor Abattoir (Aussie Abattoirs)
An animal rights group is calling for mandatory CCTV monitoring at all Australian abattoirs after distressing footage emerged of turkeys being bashed, kicked and stomped on at a major poultry processing plant in Sydney’s south-west.
Animal Liberation has called for police to investigate the workers who are shown abusing turkeys in the footage, which was recorded covertly at Inghams’ processing plant in Tahmoor over a two-week period in February.
Emma Hurst, Animal Liberation’s campaign manager, said 140 hours of footage was handed anonymously to the animal rights group several days ago. The footage had been time-stamped, and the organisation was confident it was authentic.
Video: excerpts from the Animal Lib footage - warning graphic images
It was unclear whether a worker was responsible for placing the hidden camera inside the abattoir, she said.
Ms Hurst said Animal Liberation had identified in the footage 136 instances of animal cruelty and aggravated animal cruelty - which was classified as cruelty that was so bad it led to the animal’s death, or injuries so severe it would be cruel to keep the animal alive.
Ms Hurst said the turkeys weighed between eight and 17 kilograms each, and their legs were sometimes torn off when they were shackled upside down.
‘‘Hanging upside down, their legs are already brittle, and we’ve got footage as well where their legs have actually ripped off from their bodies ... and the legs have been tossed around,’’ Ms Hurst said.
‘‘You can see a total disrespect of these animals. There are scenes where they’ve put the music up very, very loud, the workers are screaming, jumping about, dancing, picking up the turkeys, dancing while holding onto the turkeys, throwing them onto the shackles, and just that whole mentality as though these animals don’t have feelings, that they’re objects.’’
Ms Hurst said the footage had been handed to the NSW Police Assistant Commissioner for Rural Crime, and to rural crime detectives in Campsie.
One veterinarian asked to review the footage and prepare a report for the animal rights group told ABC’s Lateline that it was ‘‘amongst the worst [cases of animal cruelty] I’ve ever seen’’.
‘‘If this sort of behaviour was witnessed in general public, there’d be a huge outcry,’’ said veterinarian Dr Mark Simpson.
The graphic and disturbing footage shows workers as they take turkeys from crates and shackle them before they are stunned and slaughtered.
In one case when a turkey falls to the ground, a worker repeatedly kicks the bird as it flaps about on the floor helplessly.
The worker then picks up the turkey and slams it against a cage, before stomping on the bird’s head repeatedly until it no longer moves. The worker’s colleague looks on, but doesn’t intervene.
In another case, two workers take it in turns to kick and knee a bird as it hangs in its shackles, before the workers appear to celebrate.
Later, one worker is shown checking around a corner, apparently to make sure no one is watching, before lining up a bird and kicking it.
‘‘These are not mere ‘incidences’, these are intentional acts to cause harm and pain to these animals,’’ Animal Liberation said in a statement.
‘‘This footage is further evidence that abuse to animals in domestic abattoirs is a systemic issue.’’
Dr Simpson said his report would recommend that mandatory video monitoring be introduced at all abattoirs.
In a statement, Inghams CEO Kevin McBain said an investigation had been launched into the ‘‘intolerable incidents’’.
‘‘We condemn the animal abuse we have seen in the footage and will – as a matter of urgency – work to review, retrain and reinforce our animal welfare standards throughout our organisation,’’ he said.
‘‘Inghams has a strong commitment to animal welfare. We have Best Practice Animal Welfare Programs and Standards in place. We work with regulatory animal welfare specialists to ensure these programs are active and operating throughout all aspects of the company. The programs are regularly audited internally and by second and third party auditors to ensure compliance with standards.’’
NSW Police has been contacted for comment.