Two slaughterhouse workers who were caught on videotape sadistically abusing pigs last year were finally sentenced to prison this week after pleading guilty to violating the Animal Welfare Act.
Last spring, Animal Aid secretly filmed Piotr Andrzej Wasiuta and Kelly Smith torturing pigs at Cheale Meats in Brentwood, Essex. They were seen putting out cigarettes on pigs’ faces, brutally beating them while they were in holding pens, kicking and dragging downed pigs to slaughter by their ears, using tools to beat them in the face and improperly stunning pigs, all while they screamed in pain and fear. At least one had her throat slit while she lay writhing on the floor and was left to die in a puddle of her own blood.
Despite outrage over the incident, and clear evidence of abuse, it took a year of lobbying by Animal Aid, other organizations and the public to get justice after the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) failed to pursue the matter because it did not want to use evidence obtained by a third party. Fortunately, the responsibility to prosecute was transferred to the Crown Prosecution Service, which acted. Wasiuta was sentenced to serve six weeks, while Smith will serve four. Each received slightly reduced sentences for pleading guilty.
“We are satisfied that Wasiuta and Smith have now been brought to justice. Their acts of cruelty were inexcusable and caused untold suffering to animals who were already scared and vulnerable. However, many other slaughterhouse workers, who also caused serious and deliberate suffering to animals, have escaped justice because this government refused to act. We are now calling on the Food Standards Agency to look again at two other cases to see whether charges may be brought under the Animal Welfare Act,” said Kate Fowler, Animal Aid’s Head of Campaigns.
“Our detailed investigations have found illegality in eight of the nine slaughterhouses we visited, despite government-appointed vets being present in all of them. The current regulatory system does not work. It does not catch those who abuse animals. But this case proves that properly placed and independently-monitored cameras do work, and we renew our call for Defra to make CCTV mandatory to catch those who abuse animals and to act as a disincentive to those who might consider it.”
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