An initiative by Aussie Farms

News and updates about Australian slaughterhouses / abattoirs

< Return to list of news items

Rivalea has sacked two workers accused of cruelty to pigs at a slaughterhouse in Corowa

Wed 7 May 2014 by Richard Noone (The Daily Telegraph)

This article relates to the following facilities: Corowa Abattoir (Aussie Abattoirs) , Corowa Piggery & Abattoir (Aussie Pigs)

A PIGGERY at the centre of animal cruelty allegations has sacked two staff as police review hidden camera footage showing one of the men kicking a disabled pig.

Australia’s largest slaughterhouse has moved quickly to sack the two employees depicted in what Rivalea managing director Mick Hewat described as “disturbing footage”.

It comes after The Daily Telegraph broke the story online of pigs being excessively prodded with an electric goad and a disabled pig being kicked and dragged by the ear when it failed to enter a steel gondola.

Once inside, the gondolas are lowered three pigs at a time into a carbon dioxide chamber where they squeal wildly and contort their snouts through the bars as they suffocate in apparently “humane” conditions.


The pig is shown being mishandled as it enters the slaughterhouse.

A pig is prodded in the head with an electric goad after it refused to enter the cage.

“On Friday the 2nd of May we saw media reports containing disturbing footage of an animal being mistreated,’’ Mr Hewat said.

“We were distressed and shocked to see the footage. This is not acceptable behaviour on any of Rivalea’s properties. We expect high levels of behaviour regarding animal welfare from all of our employees.

“Rivalea launched an immediate investigation on Friday to determine if any mistreatment of animals had occurred on our property. We have taken swift action in response to our findings and [yesterday] morning dismissed two employees as a result.

“Rivalea maintains a very strong commitment to animal welfare. We are actively working to assess and reinforce the effectiveness of our animal welfare systems.”

The damage control comes as police have begun reviewing the hidden camera footage, shot over three days in February at Riverlea’s Corowa slaughterhouse.


The pigs are then gassed after being forced into the chamber.

Once inside, the gondolas are lowered three pigs at a time into a carbon dioxide chamber.

Albury rural crime investigator Detective Senior Constable Scott Barton told The Border Mail police were reviewing the footage and working with the RSPCA.

Rivalea is Australia’s largest pork producer and is behind consumer brands Riverview Farms, Murray Valley Pork, Family Chef and High Country Pork.

Yesterday French-born celebrity chef and ambassador for Murray Valley Pork Manu Feildel took to Facebook to distance himself from the allegations.

“One of the main reasons I decided to support the Rivalea brand is because of their commitment to animal welfare, so I am as shocked as everyone is at the footage that has been shown,” he posted.

“The Murray Valley Pork brand is something I support because I have spent time visiting the Corowa farm and I had confidence in the focus that Rivalea placed on animal welfare.

“Unfortunately, there is always people who will take advantage of their position and power and I can assure this behaviour was committed by one member of staff and is not something the brand has seen or dealt with before.”


The pigs are lowered into the carbon dioxide chamber.

The pigs are lowered into the carbon dioxide chamber.

Feildel condemned the actions as “definitely not behaviour I would endorse” before deleting the posts.

Obtained anonymously and provided to new animal rights organisation Aussie Farms the footage also shows an abattoir worker prodding a pig in the face before holding the electric goad in its ear for 12 seconds.

Aussie Farms operations director Chris Delforce said the two sacked employees were being treated as “scapegoats”.

“It does not address the most shocking thing about that video which is hundreds of pigs being lowered into gas chambers squealing in fear,” he said.

“It’s a bit of a stretch that management had no idea that was going on.

“There’s staff walking around, CCTV cameras ... you can’t say they didn’t know.”