Vegans find cow with its throat slit before it got to abattoir

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Animal welfare activists have raised concerns over video footage showing a cow lying in a pool of blood as it is delivered to an abattoir.

Vegan activists holding one of their regular vigils outside the slaughterhouse can be heard suggesting the animal had its throat slit inside the trailer and go to confront the driver.

When asked what had happened, he can be heard saying ‘None of your business mate’, insisting it was legal and that ‘it’s a lot better for the cow’ to arrive dead. When asked if he enjoyed doing what he was doing, he said: ‘Yeah, doesn’t bother me mate, I love a good steak.’

Footage taken on Tuesday last week shows a pool of blood dripping from the vehicle onto the road outside Newman’s Abattoir in Farnborough, Hampshire. The RSPCA say the cow suffered a broken leg so a vet sanctioned an ’emergency slaughter’ at the farm after it was stunned unconscious with a bolt gun.

Animal rights activists have raised questions over the blood soaked trailer (Picture: Farnborough Animal Action)

But Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), which works with the industry to improve welfare standards, says questions still remain over the grim state of the trailer.

They claim it should take a couple of minutes at the most to drain the cow of blood before transportation and say this should ideally be done before the taking any further steps to ensure it is definitely dead before hitting the road.

Organiser of the Farnborough Animal Action protest group, Joe Broski, told ‘I have been attending vigils over the past five years, I have been running the Farnborough vigil for four years now, it’s not something we’ve ever seen.

‘The neighbours were quite distressed. The slaughterhouse is itself on a residential road, a few of the neighbours come out, they were up in arms.

‘The neighbour who lives directly next door, she’s a tenant of the abattoir, she’s usually quite negative [towards us].

‘She came out and was in shock, she was almost crying, she said “I can’t believe this”, there was another neighbour across the street who was crying, she said it was absolutely disgusting.’

Compassion in World Farming say the cow should have been left to fully bleed out before being moved (Picture: Farnborough Animal Action)

An RSPCA spokeswoman told ‘After the RSPCA was contacted about this sad situation, an RSPCA inspector attended and spoke with the relevant authorities.

‘Sadly, the cow had suffered a broken leg on the farm, and the decision had been made by a vet to euthanise the animal on the farm, before the body was transported to the local abattoir.’

But something doesn’t quite add up for CIWF Chief Policy Adviser Peter Stevenson, who told ‘I’ve never come across anything like this and I’ve worked in this industry for quite a long time.

‘In certain cases, if an animal is badly injured, it can be legal for her to be stunned and slaughtered on the farm and be taken to an abattoir.

A puddle of blood could be seen dripping from the back of the vehicle (Picture: Farnborough Animal Action)

‘You would expect, if she was stunned and slaughtered on the farm, then the bleeding out from the throat cut – I wouldn’t want to put a precise time – I would have expected that to finish within a few minutes. It’s a rapid process, or it should be if it’s done properly.

‘A lot of blood comes out and I suppose there will still be some trickling but I wouldn’t expect it to be bleeding all the way from loading onto the truck to the slaughterhouse.

‘There’s a least a question about whether the slaughter process on the farm was properly completed.’

Having worked for more than 30 years in animal welfare, Mr Stevenson played a leading role in securing status for animals as sentient beings and winning bans on veal crates, battery cages and sow stalls under EU law.

The qualified lawyer is also the lead author of a UN Food and Agriculture Organisation study reviewing animal welfare legislation in the beef, pork and poultry industries.

He says cattle should be left to bleed for no fewer than 30 seconds under the Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing (England) Regulations 2015.

The legislation adds: ‘A person engaged in the bleeding of an animal which has been simply stunned must ensure that the bleeding is rapid, profuse and complete, and completed before the animal regains consciousness.’

When confronted, the driver can be heard saying: ‘I love a good steak’ (Picture: Farnborough Animal Action)

Mr Stevenson said it is not advisable to move an animal that is still bleeding and could still be potentially alive and that you shouldn’t start ‘doing all the things you need to do to butcher the carcass until it is absolutely dead’.

He added: ‘There do seem to be some legitimate questions to be asked. There’s at least a question that it’s not dead – It may be unconscious.

‘There’s certainly quite a lot of blood on the floor, I wouldn’t expect a dead animal, if it was dead before loading, to then be producing so much blood.’

Compassion in World Farming was founded in 1967 by dairy farmer Peter Roberts, who became increasingly concerned by the rise of intensive factory farming.

A spokesperson for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: ‘We take potential breaches of animal welfare legislation very seriously and investigate all allegations. Where welfare regulations are breached, appropriate action is taken. We do not comment on individual cases.’

Newman’s Abattoir did not comment when contacted by

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