INVESTIGATION: Animal Welfare Breaches in Slaughterhouses Dataset

In May, AF News Agency obtained data via an FOI Request from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) regarding animal welfare breaches in slaughterhouses.

Whilst we were preparing the data, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ) scooped us and ran a story about the data, which appeared in various national newspapers. BIJ did not, however, release the data, which we are now making publicly available.

Basic analysis of the data has been carried out, and reveals:

  • 4,566 recorded welfare breaches occurred between April 2015 – March 2016;
  • Cows (1,903) and chickens (1,889) were the species most commonly involved;
  • 2,523 breaches were reported to Trading Standards. 1,768 breaches resulted in verbal advice being given. 148 breaches were recommended for investigation;
  • Particularly severe and disturbing examples, which include:
    • High dead on arrival (DOA) numbers – in one case, 574 out of 6,072 chickens arrived DOA;
    • Serious health issues and injuries – examples include rectal prolapse, severe lameness, tumours, maggot-infested injuries, serious eye injuries, and many more;
    • Evidence of worrying on-farm practices – pigs, for example, arrived at slaughterhouses with slapmarks to the ear and snout, or with excessive slapmarks;
    • Evidence of worrying slaughterhouse practices – one example records a slaughterhouse worker trying to move a seriously lame, and visibly distressed, boar by the tail; and,
    • Bizarre and disturbing records of breaches – one record, for example, details a pig arriving at a slaughterhouse with metal rings hooked to his or her anus, whilst another records safety pins found along the mammary glands of a sheep.

Click here to view the data. If you would like to receive the data in raw form, please contact


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