Animal sanctuary shocked at ‘lenient’ fines for abuse at Halal abattoir
- Credit: Archant
An animal sanctuary which exposed abuse at a Halal slaughterhouse in south Norfolk said today it was shocked at the 'lenient' sentences given to the men behind the abuse.
Roger Carr who ran the Simply Halal abattoir at Moor Farm in Banham was fined £400 at Norwich Magistrates Court on Tuesday for two animal welfare offences.
Slaughterman Akhtar Mahmood was fined £600 for 12 offences, while William Lanham, who worked at the abattoir, was also fined £600 after admitting ten offences.
The men were sentenced after Hillside Animal Sanctuary put hidden cameras in the building following a tip-off.
It showed sheep at the non-stun abattoir being killed on the floor, escaping from the restrainer and being slaughtered while upside down in the restrainer.
The footage was passed to the Food Standards Agency (FSA) who investigated.
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But Mr Watson said he was shocked by the small fines.
'We had hoped that this trial would send a clear signal that anyone abusing animals may end up in court having to explain their actions,' he said.
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'However, the message from the court appears to be that very little will be done to punish those that would flout animal welfare laws and inflict terrible suffering on animals.'
The maximum punishment for the offences is an unlimited fine.
But in mitigation Mahmood's and Carr's solicitors said they had little money to pay any fine.
Ahmed Muen, mitigating for Mahmood, 53, said his client had lost his job and licence because of the case.
He now works as a security guard but work was irregular, he said.
Carr's solicitor said he relied on his daughter for support as his pension did not cover his living costs.
But district judge Ken Sheraton questioned how Carr, 70, was driving a 2014 Land Rover Discovery and had Sky TV if he had no money. He expressed surprise that the maximum sentence he could give was a fine.
The Food Standards Agency had workers at the abattoir while the abuse was going on but they did not see the breaches.
Mr Watson said the abuse would never have been exposed without Hillside's work.
An FSA spokesman said: 'Animal welfare is a high priority for the agency and we take all alleged breaches extremely seriously.
The site is not currently approved for slaughter by the FSA.