Norfolk

FSA inquiry into abattoir inspection in Norfolk

Simply Halal in Banham
Image caption Work was suspended at Simply Halal after an animal charity filmed footage in February

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is to investigate why its audit of an abattoir gave it a clean bill of health the same month footage of animal mistreatment was filmed there.

Work was suspended at Simply Halal in Banham, Norfolk, after an animal charity filmed footage in February of breaches in animal regulations.

The British Veterinary Association has called for CCTV in all slaughterhouses.

The FSA said it was looking at its February inspection.

An FSA Spokesman said: "We have launched an urgent investigation into all the circumstances that led to these animal welfare breaches.

"The conduct of the 2016 audit and its findings will be reviewed as part of the investigation."

Image copyright Google
Image caption Simply Halal opened in 2010

Concerns were first raised about standards at Simply Halal in April 2014 when undercover journalists for the Mail on Sunday filmed staff at the abattoir flouting rules on animal welfare.

The FSA conducted inspections in October 2014, January 2015 and February 2016 and gave the plant a clean bill of health. The abattoir has an FSA vet.

But in February and March secret footage filmed by the Hillside Animal Sanctuary showed animals crammed on a conveyor belt, being roughly manhandled and dying animals being hoisted up struggling and falling to the floor.

'Increased inspections'

After the footage was revealed earlier this month, the FSA suspended all of the slaughterhouse staff, its own FSA vet and the meat hygiene inspector there, pending an investigation.

Talking to BBC Radio 4's You and Yours the chief operating officer at the FSA, Jason Feeney, said the footage of the abattoir in 2014 was "of a completely different scale" to that filmed in 2016.

Mr Feeney said that since the 2014 revelations the FSA has "increased the amount of inspections and we saw improvement at the plant".

The British Veterinary Association president Sean Wensley called for measures to improve welfare standards.

"We are lobbying for CCTV to be mandatory in all slaughterhouses and for legislation to ensure that footage is readily available to vets," he said.

Simply Halal has yet to comment.‬‪

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