Cruel treatment of lambs in Victorian abattoir condemned by industry

Sheep Central, August 22, 2018

CRUEL treatment of lambs in a Victorian abattoir exposed in an online video has been condemned by Sheep Producers of Australia and the Australian Meat Industry Council.

A video showing lambs being manhandled, chased and roughly slaughtered by Carrum Meatworks workers has been released online on by Animal Rights Australia.

Gathercole operates its Carrum Downs abattoir at Patterson Lakes in outer south-east Melbourne. The company has not released a statement and a receptionist at the company’s Melbourne office told Sheep Central: “We’ve been advised not to comment.”

Australian Meat Industry Council chief executive officer Patrick Hutchinson said the video showed practices that were cruel, abhorrent and completely unacceptable. It is believed the CCTV footage was recorded in March this year.

An AMIC statement said PrimeSafe has dealt with the historical footage through enforcement action and continued to monitor the establishment over the past months through ongoing investigation.

Sheep Producers Australia executive chairman Chris Mirams said SPA expected swift and decisive action from Gathercole and the Victorian authorities in response to the incident.

“We’re confident that Primesafe and Gathercole are working to ensure this sort of thing never happens again.

“We will be communicating to Gathercole on behalf of producers the high priority we place on best practice animal welfare,” he said.

Ms Mirams said SPA will be supporting the AMIC as the peak industry body for the processing industry, “as there is no place for this sort of behaviour in any part of the sheep supply chain.”

The actions captured in the footage are appalling and completely inconsistent with the animal welfare values held by sheep producers, he said.

“Sheep producers are unwavering in their commitment to the highest animal welfare standards and expect that this commitment extends to every part of the supply chain.

“Sheep producers expect that when their animals leave their properties the same high standards of care that have been provided on the farm are continued,” Mr Mirams said.

“Producers also need to have confidence that the systems in place within the processing industry are monitored and enforced to ensure this kind of mistreatment does not happen.”

Abattoir CCTV scenes ‘simply sickening’ – AMIC

Mr Hutchinson said the video showing the improper slaughter of sheep in which some animals were mishandled and mistreated was “simply sickening”.

“I accept that we may not know the whole story as this company is not part of our membership, but there is no excuse for what I saw.”

However, Mr Hutchinson rejected the suggestion that the scenes shown were representative of typical practices in the Australian red meat sector.

“Members I have spoken to are disgusted and horrified by what they have seen.”

“Our organisation and our members continue to work towards ensuring the very highest standards of animal welfare are in place in our sector. Incidents like these let the entire industry down,” he said.

“To that end we have now contacted the Victorian regulator, PrimeSafe.”

AMIC is the peak council that represents retailers, processors and smallgoods manufacturers and is the only industry association representing the post-farmgate Australian meat industry. AMIC developed the Australian Livestock Processing Industry Animal Welfare Certification System (AAWCS), which is independently audited by AUS-MEAT. The company in the video is not AAWCS accredited, AMIC said.

Click here to view the video released and investigated by authorities, but be warned the edited footage contains confronting images.


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  1. Ray Bromley, November 27, 2021

    I have been the CEO of three Australian meat works. I have been in meatworks all over the world, and never have I witnessed anything like this.

    I know this work is not for everyone and it’s not easy; so frustration can set in. However, nothing can excuse this disgraceful conduct.

    I’ve been trying hard to defend the meat and livestock practices against an increasing level of activism from vegans, but when this is thrown at me by them, I have lost.

    I’ve only just seen this in December 2021. I don’t know the final outcome of this, but I hope it is rectified and there are procedures in place so that it can’t happen again.

  2. Ray Thomas, December 19, 2020

    I am one of the original employee’s of the Carrum meat works. I originally was a Woodwards & Sons employee before the Gathercole family took over – a very honourable and humble family. I won’t stand idly by while idiot activists tear them apart. These people are dangerous in their actions and beliefs. In 1981, I believe an activist burnt my house down because I was a butcher. I was a solo slaughterman for many years for the Carrum meat works.
    The behaviour of some has always been the case at any meat works. Sometimes frustration takes it’s toll, but just remember workers are culling an animal for meat consumption, it’s not easy. I can guarantee the owners and management do not tolerate cruelty. I have seen workers sacked on the spot.

  3. Julie Clark, October 5, 2020

    I am upset, appalled by the video of the lambs being mishandled and slaughtered in this way. There is no excuse for this and the company should not employ these sort of people.
    I would imagine that if the farmers saw what what was happening with their animals they would be appalled. This company needs to be shut down immediately.

  4. Elizabeth Shanahan, August 8, 2019

    This is an utter disgrace. What is happening in Victoria? Jail these organisers and the people who supplied the sheep. Not good enough.

  5. Michèle Goulart, April 23, 2019

    When will we legislate and make unavoidable the slaughter of animals “without suffering” on our planet. In France, we did not even demand that cameras be mandatory in slaughter centres, when the Food Law was passed.

  6. Sally Withers, October 23, 2018

    This is a cultural problem within the industry. These people have foremen, so surely the foreman knows what’s going on. He’s condoning the behaviour of the worker. Time to clean up the industry from the top down. Being a member of AMIC should be mandatory for any processor. Prime Safe should be paying spot visits to all abattoirs instead of arranging their audit schedule. It’s about time the industry had a good clean out and dirty non-conforming processors made to clean up. No, I’m not a vegan.

  7. Josephine Norman, October 16, 2018

    Until tonight, I was a meat-eater. The terrible treatment of animals in the videos I have just witnessed has probably put me off for life. If this kind of behaviour is not par for the course in Australian abattoirs, then why is it being allowed to happen?

  8. Bernice Wuttke, August 25, 2018

    This is vile disgusting treatment of sheep. Where were the DPIs? I most definitely agree with David Watson that they should be charged and psychiatric help be given immediately. It is a known fact that those who act out in this way to animals can go onto doing the same to human beings. My husband was a slaughterman for 25 years. I also worked at the meat works for 10 years and I have watched the sheep being stunned, throats cut and hung prior to being processed on the revolving chain. I have also observed the cattle being knocked, dropped and throat cut. I not only worked on the mutton chain but the pig chain as well and am very aware of the way that they are killed correctly.
    Animals will be bred and killed for human consumption. I doubt that those who are banging the drum about becoming a vegan will change the world. In fact, the continual ‘shove it in your face situation’ could quite possibly put people off of taking action. The way that animals meet their death should be quick and without abuse. Any company who turns a blind eye to such things should be reported, charged and have their licence taken from them, never to have it reinstated. All rogue companies should be shut down.

  9. DAVID R WATSON, August 25, 2018

    Totally unacceptable. All concerned should be put up on criminal charges and those responsible should receive psychiatric help, whilst incarcerated in one of our many jails. There is a question I must ask. Why does the main perpetrator keep looking toward the camera?

  10. Jackie Foster, August 24, 2018

    Do something about this cruelty.

  11. Neil Barrie, August 24, 2018

    It has been common knowledge among the 99.9 percent of respectable processors that those involved in this hideous video have been on the nose for quite a while. Their non-membership of such industry organisations as AMIC allows them to act outside the norms of industry decency.
    It’s great that they have finally been brought to heel.

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