Vet and meat hygiene inspector suspended from Simply Halal slaughterhouse at Banham amid concerns for animals

Simply Halal in Banham. Photograph Simon Parker

Simply Halal in Banham. Photograph Simon Parker - Credit: Archant

A vet and meat hygiene inspector have been suspended from their duties at Norfolk slaughterhouse Simply Halal over concerns for the welfare of animals.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has stopped the slaughtering of animals at Simply Halal in Banham, near Diss, after an investigation was launched into the abattoir's treatment of animals.

Seven workers in total have been suspended from work. However the firm is still able to carry out the cutting of meat.

The investigation was launched after the FSA was given undercover footage filmed by Hillside Animal Sanctuary, based near Norwich.

An investigator from the sanctuary gained access to the farm via unlocked doors after it was claimed there were issues over the slaughter of cows and sheep.

The footage was filmed between early February and mid-March this year.

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An FSA spokesman said: 'Following an FSA investigation, we immediately halted slaughter operations at Simply Halal and launched urgent investigations.

'We have suspended personal licences to slaughter/handle animals (known as certificates of competence) for five individuals - including Simply Halal employees seen in the footage - as we do not consider them to be fit and proper persons to handle animals.

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'The official veterinarian and the meat hygiene inspector working in the premises at the time of these incidents have also been suspended from their duties pending immediate investigations.'

The FSA added a review of the business's approval to operate is currently taking place and will be concluded by the end of this month.

Breckland councillor Marion Chapman-Allen, chairman of licensing, said: 'We are greatly concerned. Nobody should be under any illusion that animal cruelty will not be tolerated by the council.'

This newspaper had sought a comment from Roger Carr, who runs Simply Halal, but he was not available for comment.

Simply Halal was also investigated in 2013 when the FSA found it sold 25 beef quarters to a meat wholesaler without first removing the vertebral column, which is at risk of carrying Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE). There was no risk to the public, Simply Halal said at the time.

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