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I was delighted to wake up to the headline  ‘CCTV At All Abattoirs To Stop Cruelty To Animals’, in the Daily Mail on Friday 11 August. Several of the branch members and I had worked hard on promoting a campaign on this as part of our strategy to boost the farming and fishing industries in our rural constituency of Totnes.

It all began when Sky News showed undercover footage filmed at the Red Lion abattoir in Cheshire in spring 2016, which showed horses being beaten, killed in sight of other horses, and other appalling acts of cruelty. World Horse Welfare called for the suspension of activities at that abattoir and decided to launch a campaign calling for CCTV in every abattoir licensed to slaughter horses.

During hustings last autumn in Torbay, it became clear that many of the members felt UKIP should promote its USPs (Unique Selling Points), and it was also evident that animal welfare is important to many of us. The UKIP manifesto 2015, included the pledge to ‘Install CCTV in every abattoir, monitored by the Meat Hygiene Service, and deal severely with any contraventions.’ So, from October this was one of the several topics that the Totnes branch began to work on.

We encouraged people to sign and share the online Petition Parliament on the issue, and several of us collected signatures on a paper petition to Defra. Our local Tesco’s store kindly let us campaign for a day in its foyer. This garnered 130 signatures. My local veterinary practice held petition forms in the clients’ waiting room and phoned me on a regular basis for ‘top ups’ and we collected signatures from friends and families and at other hustings. In all, we collected an impressive 1,000 of the 43,000 signatures that were collected nationwide. Our long term hope was that once legislation was passed for equine slaughter houses, we could campaign for it to be extended to embrace all animals.

The campaign took a big step forward when Liz Saville Roberts, Plaid Cymru MP, led an early day motion in Westminster Hall on 29 November. It was disappointing that our local MP, Sarah Wollaston, was not one of the 23 MPs who attended although several of us had written to ask her to do so, and one member had had an appointment at her surgery to voice her concerns over the poor standards of animal welfare when being exported live for slaughter and in our own slaughter houses. Still, 23 was a promisingly good ‘rump’ of MPs interested enough in animal welfare issues to attend such a debate.

Progress seemed to grind to a halt when the online petition and paper petition were closed because of the General Election. We feared that we would have to start from scratch.

Maybe it was the media coverage of the Animal Aid undercover film showing the dreadful cruelty at a large Halal slaughter house near Burnley in Lancashire which kept the momentum going for the need for CCTV. Filmed over two days in March of this year it shows sheep having their necks sawed at with blunt knives; being picked up by their fleece and thrown, and animals jumping and fitting having been systematically moved before having enough time to lose consciousness.Perhaps it was the publicity that Animal Aid attracted having secretly filmed at 13 other slaughterhouses over the year showing instances of animals being kicked, punched in the face, given electric shocks and being burnt with cigarettes. Footage from its operation at Forge Farm Meat in Tunbridge Wells in April and May of this year was passed to the Food Standards Agency. Director, Isobel Hutchinson, said, ‘We very much hope that Forge Farm will be brought to justice, and welcome any action that the regulators take in order to achieve this.’

Perhaps it was the publicity that Animal Aid attracted having secretly filmed at 13 other slaughterhouses over the year showing instances of animals being kicked, punched in the face, given electric shocks and being burnt with cigarettes. Footage from its operation at Forge Farm Meat in Tunbridge Wells in April and May of this year was passed to the Food Standards Agency. Director, Isobel Hutchinson, said, ‘We very much hope that Forge Farm will be brought to justice, and welcome any action that the regulators take in order to achieve this.’

Whatever the reasons the Government has announced that it is fulfilling its manifesto pledge of introducing mandatory CCTV throughout all areas where live animals are present in every slaughter house in England and has opened consultation.

Michael Gove, Environment Secretary, stated that this measure would reinforce Britain’s reputation for high standards of animal welfare. This is a big step towards ensuring humane treatment of animals. Mandatory CCTV will assist the Food Standards Agency in their duty of animal welfare enforcement and the CCTV footage will be available for viewing by official vets to ensure compliance with regulations. It could also provide a basis for training slaughterhouse staff, thus improving their competence. This will, in turn, provide reassurance to animal owners that their livestock is being humanely dispatched.

A survey of 900 horse owners indicated that 90% would not use a slaughterhouse to end their horse’s life, but 50% would consider it if they had confidence that their animal’s welfare was assured. It can be very expensive to have a horse put down at home and then meet the disposal costs so only too often owners put the decision off and put their animals ‘out to grass’ when it would be kinder to end their lives. Every animal lover wants assurance of high welfare standards at the end of an animal’s life from the family pony to the farmer’s herd of beef cattle. Every improvement is welcomed.

Of course, there are many other pressing issues. Under EU regulations 2009, animals must be stunned before slaughter. Britain allows an exemption for those who oppose because of religious beliefs. Animal welfare must take priority over religious beliefs. Stun to kill must be the only accepted form of animal slaughter in the UK.

I am sure that most readers will be aware of Hugo Jenks’ recent articles on UKIP Daily. Some may have watched the film he attached to a recent article comparing the humane stun to kill method on a bullock compared to the gross barbarism of the Halal method used on terrified cattle and sheep. The cruelty and suffering imposed on those animals was beyond description.

The Government is currently showing concern for animal welfare to reinforce the country’s status as a global leader in its high standards. Michael Gove said, ‘As we prepare to leave the EU, these measures provide a further demonstration to consumers around the world that our food is produced to the very highest standards’. Let us capitalise on this and push for stun to kill in every slaughterhouse, with no exception. Coming back to that UKIP hustings in Torbay last autumn when it came to animal welfare it was Halal, slaughter that caused the most outrage amongst our members. The majority felt it has no place in the UK.

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  1. This is a sick and cruel practice and I am sick of having this forced upon us. I now go out of my way to ensure any meat I buy (from the store or when out for a meal) is NOT halal. I refuse to support it. CCTV cameras should be mandatory in EVERY slaughterhouse – Thank you UKIP!

  2. Thank you Ceri and all supporters without who this great
    acheivement can not be implemented.
    Great Ukippers

  3. Haal is cruel. It has to be outlawed.

  4. SIZE 15CARBONFOOTPRINT // August 19, 2017 at 5:33 pm // Reply

    Will it also apply to Halal slaughterhouses or will they be given the usual exemption ?

  5. Excellent news. Well done all at Totnes Ukip branch who worked so hard to make this happen, especially Ceri.

  6. Sadly another sticking plaster solution in place of the real one which we all know.

  7. Halal or Kosha slaughter is utterly evil and disgusting. Its not about tollerance its about right and wrong. Ukip should be representing british values.

  8. Well Done to UKIP Totnes, in keeping this subject going. For a ‘Nation of Animal Lovers’, we are doing a very poor job ! It says much, when only 23 MP’s, can take an interest in such an important subject. Presumably they are all afraid of raising the Halal Subject and losing their jobs ? In the same way, that Mrs Champion has lost hers, for daring to tell the truth, about the perpetrators of the Child Abuse Cases in the North of England.

  9. This is great work by UKIP Totnes branch and a real issue we should all get behind.
    I for one am disgusted by this treatment of our animals and I’m sure most members of the public are too.
    Well done Ceri!

  10. Many, many heartfelt thanks to you, Ceri, and to everyone who helped make this impact. Bouquets to you and a brickbat to Sarah Wollaston.

    Improving conditions, surveillance and humane treatment in slaughterhouses has been a long time coming. Whatever progress this country made in the past was disgracefully downgraded and betrayed by allowing halal slaughter for muslims and kosher for Jews.

    “Animal welfare must take priority over religious beliefs.” Absolutely and incontrovertibly right.
    I look forward to the day when the production and importation of cruelly-produced meat is utterly banned in this country. Anyone who can’t live without eating meat that has come from animals made to suffer unnecessarily should leave our civilised country and go back to their barbaric one.

  11. Jacqueline Whiting // August 18, 2017 at 3:34 pm // Reply

    I find the treatment of animals having their throats cut and left to bleed out justifiably cruel. I watched this happen to goats when I lived in Abu Dhabi (early 90’s) and I never thought I would hear that this despicable act would become ‘normal’ in the UK. UK is a Christian country first and foremost and our laws should be followed, not deviated upon for different faiths.

  12. I was stunned and delighted to see the news item above CCTV in slaughter houses. And about time too. I agree wholeheartedly about halal slaughter practices. In this country we should be working to one minimal standard in all areas of government control. It’s already the thin end of the wedge to sharia law.

  13. Ceri, many thanks for all the campaigning that you and others have done on this issue. CCTV is a very necessary step forward.

    The links to my articles:
    UKIP policy change from anti- to pro-halal slaughter

    Anti-Sharia but Pro-Halal?

    There are three main problems with non-stun religious slaughter:

    1. The obvious animal cruelty. In itself this is reason enough to ban it.

    2. That exceptions to laws on animal cruelty are given. Is UKIP serious about having “one law for all” or not? If it is serious then the current pro-Halal and pro-Kosher policy must be reversed.

    3. Halal certification bodies effectively levy a taxation on all Halal products. It is not just levied on meat. There are serious questions to be asked about where the money goes. Where is the traceability? Does it fund terrorism? The amounts are not trivial.

    Politics is the art of the possible. Step by step we will win. This is a significant first step.

    Ignore the ignorant journalists – they will accuse us of Islamophobia. Let them. The voters want us to do the morally correct thing.

  14. Thank you Cheri, for all the work you do and have done on this. CCTV in slaughterhouses is a great idea, however, who will monitor or review footage? I can’t see the Government paying for people to do this. Perhaps Animal Aid could set up volunteers to do this as part of its work? I would definitely contribute funds towards this.
    I still remain convinced that UKIP membership would do very well with a Halal ban policy. As we have discussed on here before, Halal is unnecessary as Muslims need not eat it (Taysir) and not only that, it turns out that Halal slaughterhouses should only sell Halal meat to outlets that are for Muslims, it should not, by law, be being sold to the general population. So there is still a great deal of information to get out there, and UKIP should be leading,the way instead of appeasing and supporting this barbaric practice.

    • Dee, I have learned two things today.
      a)Halal slaughterhouses should only sell Halal meat to outlets that are for Muslims.
      b)”under EU regulations 2009 – animals must be stunned” which we have chosen not to enforce.
      Does any EU nation enforce it? France for instance, they have a big Muslim population – is it possible they eat non Halal?

      • Afraid I don’t know if any EU nation enforces Roger. The law about Halal meat surfaced the other day on Twitter. It’s just a guess, but France has caved in to Muslim demands a lot, so I’m guessing they have Halal – but I will look into it – interesting.

      • There is a crucial difference between ‘stunned’ and ‘stun to kill’. Halal slaughterhouses get away with perfunctory stunning, but the animal often comes round again for the actual horrific sawing at the neck.
        In islam, they love the sawing, knifing and cutting at the neck, don’t they? It’s what the koran tells them to do to opponents of islam : ‘strike at the neck’. But what does anyone expect from a backward cult of oppression that originated in Arabia 14 centuries ago and hasn’t improved its ideas since?

  15. PurplePottymouth // August 18, 2017 at 11:27 am // Reply

    Congratulations UKIP Totnes. These policies are important to my members – I had 3 resign over halal slaughter and rejoin when Paul Nuttall stepped down.If we are going to farm animals and kill them for their meat I believe that they deserve the best standards of care we can give them and as humane a death as possible. I have the luxury now of being able to only buy meat from local farm shops where the source of the meat is known but not everyone can afford to choose

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