Animal rights campaigners plan protest at Cranswick plant

PUBLISHED: 15:00 15 January 2017 | UPDATED: 15:59 15 January 2017

Cranswick Country Foods in Watton. Picture; Matthew Usher.

Cranswick Country Foods in Watton. Picture; Matthew Usher.

© Archant Norfolk 2012

Animal rights campaigners will be comforting animals on their “final journey” outside a slaughterhouse in the largest protest of its kind in Norfolk in recent times.

Coordinated by the newly formed Norfolk Animal Save, the peaceful protest on Wednesday will see campaigners gather outside Cranswick Country Foods in Watton.

After liaising with the plant and Norfolk police, it has been agreed that lorries transporting livestock will stop for five minutes outside the factory on Brandon Road to allow campaigners to “bear witness” to the animal’s journey and speak words of comfort to them before they enter the factory.

On Norfolk Animal Save’s Facebook page in excess of 40 people have said they will attend the protest, with 100 more expressing an interest in attending.

Tom Fenner, of Norfolk Animal Save, said: “It is the first protest of this size that will have been experienced in Norfolk for a good long time.

“We will have a designated area where we can bear witness and will be taking pictures and speaking kind words to the animals on their final journey. We want to show people the treatment of the meat that ends up on their dinner plates.

“We try to show people the truth of where their food is coming from. We encourage anyone who wishes to to join in.

“Online people have said that us being there causes the animals distress, which I find to be quite a naive approach. I think people speaking kind words to the animals on the way to slaughter is unlikely to be the worst part of their day.”

Cranswick chief executive Adam Couch said the group had been in contact with Watton site director Barry Lock.

He added: “We are aware of the campaigners’ protest and we respect their decision to come, as long as it does not interfere with the running of our plant.”

Since coming to the UK from Canada a year ago, the Save movement has spread around England with Save branches now operating in Suffolk, Essex, Hertfordshire and Norfolk.

Mr Fenner said the Norfolk branch will initially be holding protests at Cranswick’s Watton plant every month, with plans to eventually go to other locations around the county.

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