No sick jokes about Tesco etc please...this is so not funny
Two slaughtermen have been sacked after an undercover investigation exposed shocking cruelty to horses at an abattoir.
The disturbing video shows them being beaten with metal poles and illegally stunned in groups of up to three at a time before being killed.
In one horrifying moment a stunned horse appears to regain consciousness, only to find itself hanging upside down and about to have its throat cut.
The footage was captured at the Red Lion Abattoir, near Nantwich, Cheshire, after an eight-week investigation by animal welfare group Hillside.
They also saw horses which appeared to be sick or injured and hadn't been immediately put down.
Founder Wendy Valentine, 63, told MailOnline: 'We have rescued around 700 horses and we were concerned about where we were saving them from.'
'It's unbelievably depressing there. They shouldn't be stunned or shot in front of each other like that.
'It's total disrespect for animal welfare.'
The scandal emerged as several British supermarkets have been exposed as selling frozen beef burgers which contain horse meat.
The alert was first raised by Irish food watchdogs after horse DNA was found in burgers sold through Tesco, Iceland, Aldi, Lidl and Dunnes in Ireland.
It subsequently emerged that burgers from the same batches were sold in the British outlets of both Tesco and Iceland.
Incredibly, the beef content in one Everyday Value burger sold by Tesco was actually 29 per cent horse meat.
The horses at the Red Lion Abattoir are believed to be butchered for European food markets.
Under the Welfare of Animals Act 1995, horses cannot be slaughtered in sight of another horse as it causes severe distress to the animal.
The footage, which has been uploaded to YouTube, shows three horses crammed into a tiny pen before being stunned.
The Food Standards Agency told the Daily Mirror it has revoked the licences of two slaughtermen after a probe into the video.
FSA head of approvals Craig Kirby said: 'As soon as we got the footage and reviewed it we took immediate action to revoke the slaughtermen's licences.
'We will also look to gather further evidence to see if we can prosecute.'
The Red Lion Abattoir told Sky News it views animal welfare and public health with paramount importance.
In a statement it said: 'In attendance at the The Red Lion Abattoir are three full time Food Standards Officers comprising of an official veterinarian and full-time meat hygiene inspectors throughout production.'
It said the incidents were 'not the norm, but of an isolated nature' and they have taken disciplinary action against the individual featured.
The statement continued: 'I agree horses should individually enter the stunning area and most certainly not three at a time.
'However, small horses and ponies having spent years together as companions are difficult to separate. Horse lovers would understand that.
'My opinion and that of other veterinarians is it is better to keep those types together to reduce the stress, providing swift dispatch is achieved.'
An RSPCA spokesperson said the organisation is viewing the footage and will decide whether to prosecute.
In a statement it said: 'The footage is shocking and upsetting to watch. With the Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995 in mind, we have concerns that horses appear to be in the stunning pen at the same time rather than individually as the law requires.
'We also have concerns about some of the animals that appear to be injured. We have requested a copy of the unedited footage with a view to investigating.'
Former government chief veterinary officer Keith Meldrum, who viewed the footage, has told Sky News he was shocked by the 'appalling' breaches of animal welfare.
'We see three animals stunned at the same time and it is totally illegal and contrary to welfare slaughter regulations,' he said.
'It's a significant welfare problem for a number of reasons. It's harder to render them unconscious in a group and they have a higher chance of regaining consciousness before you've completed the procedure.'
Roly Owers, chief executive of World Horse Welfare, said: 'The breaches, from what we've seen, are throughout; from the care of the animals to the slaughter process.
'Horses are intelligent animals. When they see an animal stunned in front of them you can only imagine the distress that animal is going through. There are, without doubt, welfare issues here and it is plain illegal.'DON'T click link if you don't want to see.. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-...fare-group.html