Sydney abattoir faces cruelty claim

Beef Central, 09/02/2012

Slaughtering at Hawkesbury Valley Meat Processors at Wilberforce in Sydney's west was shut-down yesterday following action by the NSW Food Authority after the examination of video footage described as portraying ‘gross animal mistreatment.’

A statement issued yesterday afternoon by the NSW Food Authority suggests the video shows the slaughter of sheep, cattle, goats and pigs that allegedly breaches the Food Regulation 2010 and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979.

Australian standards under the Food Regulation 2010 require that "animals are slaughtered in a way that prevents unnecessary injury, pain and suffering to them and causes them the least practical disturbance."

A full investigation of slaughter practices at the site was now underway, with involvement from the RSPCA, the statement said.

“Non-compliance of food and animal welfare laws is taken extremely seriously,” the Authority said.

The welfare of animals in NSW is protected under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1979) and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulation which are overseen by the NSW Department of Primary Industries.

Under the POCTA Act, fines of up to $110,000 or two years imprisonment apply for acts of aggravated acts of cruelty to animals.

The NSW Food Authority regulates abattoirs in NSW. All NSW abattoirs are required to hold a licence and operate in accordance with the Food Regulation 2010.

Abattoirs are required to comply with the NSW Standard for the Hygienic Production and Transportation of Meat and Meat Products for Human Consumption.

NSW Farmers says is appalled by the acts of animal cruelty that were televised on ABC television program Lateline last night.

NSW Farmers’ President, Fiona Simson, has reiterated the concern of NSW Farmers’ cattle, sheep, goat, poultry and pig farmers that animal welfare must be a priority for everyone in the meat production chain.

“Looking after your animals is essential to productive farming; our members are concerned and shocked when they see that the same care is not undertaken when the livestock leave the farm.

“After the live export issue in 2011, our membership reaffirmed that the highest level of animal welfare should always be carried out, whether at home or abroad.

“As such we welcome the actions taken by the Food Authority in closing the abattoir for investigation with the RSPCA, and have faith that these investigations will be both thorough and fair,” Fiona Simson said.

NSW Farmers notes the strong commitment of the Food Authority to ensure compliance with food standards, which already includes licensing, inspection and audit requirements.


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