Pressure mounts on Brentwood abattoir at centre of animal abuse claims

Peaceful and non-peaceful protest is mounting against a Brentwood abattoir at the centre of an alleged animal cruelty scandal.

Campaigners from Animal Aid last week produced video footage claiming that cruelty was taking place at Elmkirk Ltd – also known as Cheale Meats – sparking online petitions calling on the firm to be prosecuted. Others have threatened violence against the company, based in Little Warley Hall Lane, Warley.

The footage showed workers allegedly punching pigs, hitting them with sticks, putting out cigarettes on their faces, and slaughtering them without correctly stunning them.

‘Threats of violence’

Kate Fowler, head of campaigns at Animal Aid, said: “Since we first began investigating English slaughterhouses, we have been pressing everyone involved – regulators, industry bodies and the government – to act decisively to end the cruelty.

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“At first, they appeared contrite and promised action but now their words ring hollow.”

In a statement, Cheale Meats said two workers had been sacked over the incident, but that the footage was illegally obtained and edited to make it look worse than it really was.

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It added: “The directors and all staff at Elmkirk Ltd are unequivocal in their condemnation of these acts.”

The company, which took extra steps to make sure the Recorder’s enquiry was genuine – says “threats of personal violence” have been made to staff and are being reported to the police.

On one online group set up to protest against the actions most of the comments encourage peaceful protest.

But one user said: “B******s need [to be] shot and fed to th[e] Pigs.” Another said: “These b******s should be put down asap ...”

Others were promising that they would find out the identities of the men who carried out the alleged abuse.

Essex Police said they are investigating whether any criminal acts have taken place in relation to the site.

The RSPCA are investigating the allegations of cruelty.

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