Inhumane slaughter has no place in the UK

Still from the undercover footage

When Sky News asked us to review undercover footage filmed at a UK abattoir in January 2013, we were appalled by what we saw. It showed a catalogue of illegal abuse such as horses being beaten, slaughtered in view of other horses, and not being humanely dispatched.

Read more about the breaches and our full response to the footage here.

We immediately launched a petition calling for operations at the plant to cease until new procedures are put in place, and for the introduction and monitoring of CCTV at all slaughterhouses licensed to take horses in the UK in order to assist the FSA in their duty of enforcement.

This petition is now closed. Thank you very much to everyone who signed, we will be updating you shortly.


The public and horse owners need to have confidence that slaughter is carried out humanely in Britain. CCTV cameras:

  • Can be installed into spaces where an inspector cannot safely be present - such as in the ‘stun box'.
  • Will always be present, unlike inspectors.
  • Cannot be intimidated, unlike an inspector.
  • Produce a permanent record, allowing both good and bad practice to be identified and used in training for slaughterhouse employees.
  • Will help counter any malicious accusations against the proprietors or employees of licenced premises and permit proprietors to demonstrate that they treat horses humanely.
  • Can be viewed securely from any location, offering more flexibility for the FSA and could even save money if they replace some on-site monitors.
  • Will help improve public confidence that animals will be slaughtered humanely.
  • Will allow the British public to feel confident that British meat, which has a reputation as a high welfare product, is the result of humane slaughter procedures.
  • Suitable CCTV systems can be purchased for less than £500, so the costs to business are not unreasonable.

UPDATE: On 8th April we welcomed the closure of the abattoir at the centre of the investigations, The Red Lion Abattoir in Cheshire, by The Food Standards Agency (FSA). The FSA said that the establishment did not meet all the infrastructure requirements, which permit the safe production of meat, and could therefore be a risk to public health. We welcome the fact that the plant will not be operating, as we requested earlier this year on welfare grounds, though we are disappointed that horse welfare alone was not seen as a good enough reason to suspend operations.

While operations have been suspended at this abattoir, we believe compulsory CCTV is a vital step to protect horses. While we believe there is a role for humane slaughter in Britain, inhumane slaughter has no place.

We receive no government or lottery funding and rely entirely on support from the public to continue our work helping horses in the UK and overseas. Please consider making a donation today. Thank you.