Fw: Defra ‘stripped’ of its prosecution function after slaughterhouse cruelty campaign

Alison Banville alisonbanville at yahoo.co.uk
Wed Aug 24 12:05:52 BST 2011

'Three of the five DEFRA ministers are also farmers' is significant and today's 
press release highlights quite rightly that 'DEFRA cannot be both the industry's 
champion and its regulator'. This is a simple matter of common sense and basic 
justice but has gone unchallenged for so long because those usually interested 
in issues of justice tend to ignore any injustice which implicates their own 
behaviour and lifestyle choices: 

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Kate Fowler <kate at animalaid.co.uk>
To: media at animalaid.co.uk
Sent: Wed, 24 August, 2011 10:37:10
Subject: Defra ‘stripped’ of its prosecution function after slaughterhouse 
cruelty campaign

For immediate release: 24 August 2011
Defra ‘stripped’ of its prosecution function after
slaughterhouse cruelty campaign

A year-long campaign by Animal Aid to have Defra stripped of its prosecution 
powers has culminated this week in confirmation that the Crown Prosecution 
Service (CPS) will now take over this role. The news comes in the wake of a 
media furore caused by Defra’s decision to refuse to prosecute slaughterhouse 
workers who Animal Aid filmed burning pigs with cigarettes, punching an animal 
in the head and forcing seriously injured pigs to drag themselves to 

Animal Aid first drew attention to a conflict of interest within Defra 12 months 
ago when the government department dropped all outstanding prosecution cases 
against four slaughterhouse owners and nine employees. The evidence against them 
had been obtained by Animal Aid using covert, fly-on-the-wall cameras. Animal 
Aid believes that the decision to abandon these prosecutions was politically 
motivated (the previous Labour government had investigated and brought criminal 
charges) and stated publicly its concern that Defra should not be both the 
industry’s champion and its regulator. The department’s close ties to the 
farming and slaughter industries – three of the four Defra Ministers are also 
farmers, while the fourth worked for the National Farmers Union before becoming 
an MP – strengthened Animal Aid’s belief that a conflict of interest was 

Animal Aid had pressed for the independent Food Standards Agency to take on the 
role of prosecutor and had lobbied MPs to that effect. But an announcement 
quietly made on the Attorney General’s website on 12th August stated that the 
CPS would be taking over the role: 

‘The Attorney General and the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural 
Affairs announced today the transfer of Defra's prosecution function to the CPS 
and the remainder of their legal team to the Treasury Solicitor's Department… 
Defra Legal's five prosecution posts will transfer to the CPS…
‘Defra and the CPS have considered carefully the benefits of the changes and 
agree that the new structure will provide a better strategic fit for 
prosecutions. The new arrangement will provide greater resilience in the conduct 
of Defra prosecutions, and the team conducting those cases would have improved 
access to the range of specialist teams in the CPS that are not available in a 
small in-house team. The team would also have access to the CPS's network of 
advocates serving courts locally.’(2)
Animal Aid’s Head of Campaigns Kate Fowler welcomed the move, saying:
‘We are heartened that future decisions about slaughterhouse prosecutions will 
fall to the CPS. Defra is much too close to the industry and, as a result of 
this, many slaughterhouse workers have escaped prosecution, including some whose 
actions can only be described as sadistic. We hope that this change will lead to 
the individuals recently filmed burning, kicking and punching pigs at an Essex 
slaughterhouse being charged and prosecuted.’

- Ends -
Notes to Editors

	* For additional information or to arrange an interview, contact Kate Fowler or 
Andrew Tyler on 01732 364546 (out of hours 07918 083 774).
	* We have an ISDN line available for broadcast quality interviews. 

Additional Information
	* (1) Animal Aid’s slaughterhouse campaign, including the most recent 
investigation, can be viewed here: 
	* (2) The statement on the Attorney General’s website can be found here: 

	* Animal Aid has filmed covertly inside nine UK slaughterhouses since January 
2009 and found breaches of the welfare laws in eight of them. The national 
organisation has convinced ten of the leading supermarkets plus the leading 
wholesaler, Booker, to insist that their slaughterhouse suppliers install CCTV. 
It continues to press for an amendment to the law to make CCTV installation 
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