Red Lion Abattoir at Sound Heath, Nantwich

Animal rights campaigners across the country are planning to descend on a controversial abattoir near Nantwich in a bid to close it down.

Hundreds are expected to gather in Nantwich town centre before travelling to the Red Lion abattoir, at Sound Heath near Wrenbury.

The abattoir hit the national headlines last week after secret films showed how staff were treating horses before they were slaughtered.

The filming, by Hillside Animal Sanctuary, was screened by Sky News, leading to two abattoir workers having their licences revoked by the Food Standards Agency.

Meat from horses slaughtered at the abattoir is shipped across to be sold on the European food market.

Red Lion Abattoir campaign posterBut campaigners have launched two petitions in a bid to get the facility closed down, and to install CCTV in all abattoirs in the UK to reduce alleged cruelty cases.

Jackie Winaston Jones, of Nantwich, her sister Ruth, from Anglesey, and friend Nicola Allen, from Staffordshire, are spearheading the protest.

Nicola said: “The fact it is still trading after this with only two staff having their licences revoked has upset a lot of people.

“Wwe as a horse community have heard horror stories about this place for years with no proof.

“We have had people respond that they are coming from as far as Glossop, Bristol and all over.

“The campaign is growing daily and attracting huge support from general public and horse owners alike.”

Protesters are due to gather in Nantwich town centre at around 12 noon this Saturday February 2, before then travelling out to the abattoir.

Nantwichnews contacted abattoir owners Derek and Valerie Turner and we are awaiting a reply.

However, in their initial statement, the owners declared scenes shown by Sky News from the secret film were “isolated incidents”.


  1. Jennifer Rogers says:

    I propose Psychological assessments for all future employees of slaughter houses, and a regulation which ensures that there will always be one person present during slaughter who is concerned with the wefare of the animals.

    Perhaps those interested in the wefare of animals should be encouraged to take these jobs then at least the animals will be treated with some kindness. Unfortunately a lot of people do not have the stomach for this type of work and by choice most people would decline when asked to slaughter there own dinner. I know of two people who are now vegetarian because of the cruelty they witnessed whilst working in an abattoir, however there are plenty of decent folk who carry out their work to the best of their ability and do have a conscience. Regarding the slaughter of animals trained for racing, leisure activities etc, shame on the owners who treat animals like slaves and toss them out when they are done, these people are hateful and need to take some responsibility.

  2. What we actually need is for irresponsible owners to stop breeding horses and ponies that they have no hope of ever finding homes for. This would greatly reduce the number of animals that go for slaughter in the first place.

  3. Angela Hotston says:

    Slaughter houses for horses are inhumane, wrong and unnecessary. Why, if a horse is sick or injured and is deemed ‘only fit for slaughter’ is this not carried out by a person qualified to shoot the horse where it is stabled? This was the way it was done in the past when a horse had to be destroyed we say the ‘knacker man arrive’ and soon after we heard the gunshot. No anxiety caused through travelling long distance, no neglect or cruelty involved. It was a horrible thing to have to do but the man who carried it out at our farm was a kindly soul and I know he genuinely cared about animal welfare. There is nothing pleasant about having to kill an animal wether it’s a horse or any other animal for that matter, but sometimes it’s necessary. If the slaughter of many horses needs to be done, then surely these animals can be sedated first with a painless injection, rather than ‘stunned’ which failed to work on the horses at The Red Lion Abattoir. I know we don’t like in a perfect world but there has to be another way. I support all efforts to abolish all animal cruelty.

  4. For all the people demanding that this facility be shut down – just where do you think unwanted, sick and broken horses will go? Not every horse has the luxury of a ‘home for life’ and if there are no facilities such as Turners, you are condemning them to far worse. More than likely a long, traumatic journey to a continental slaughterhouse. Look at what happened when the US banned slaughter – tens upon tens of thousands of horses were transported to Canada and Mexico, enduring horrific journies, and an even more horrific death at the end. We need more slaughterhouses, not less, and they need to be rigorously monitored to ensure incidents like those in Cheshire aren’t repeated.

    • For those that think this abbatoir and those alike should be allowed to stay open, shame on you all! It is not the fact of it being a slaughter house, sure we need such work to take place. Its the inhumane way in which these animals are being treated! So because their old, ill etc they don’t deserve to die a respected death? They should be made to suffer? There are ways to slaughter animals and by beating and torturing is certainly not the way it should be done!plus I may add why is this being done to horses? Horse meat has no place in the UK. Good luck with the protest and any that may follow

    • Ricky Rogers says:

      Apparently you don’t know what your talking about – As a horse trainer & rescuer myself I can tell you that most of the horses that go to slaughter are quite healthy, they are NOT old and sick like many think they are. Slaughter houses are inhumane and horse meat is poison – do you want that in your food. Horse slaughter has never stopped in the US they have always shipped to Canada or Mexico for slaughter. The solution is cut off the slaughter supply route for the kill buyers and over breeding stops, thus no need for slaughter plants. Also, make equine sanctuaries out of unused land especially land that needs regrowth. Horse slaughter is big business nothing more and nothing less, it has nothing to do with helping our horses. Besides, 80% of WE-THE-PEOPLE oppose any form of horse slaughter!

  5. We need as many people on Friday 15 at 11am.

    All those that were there last time please come, no excuses and as many new people as possible.
    Remember peaceful protest

  6. Wendy Harrison says:

    There is another peaceful protest this Friday at the Red Lion Abattoir, at 11am. PLease come and show your support. If you think I can’t face this, just imagine how those poor horses and ponies feel, this will give you strength and courage. They need us to do this. PUT YOUR HORSE TO SLEEP AT HOME!!

    • Yes get along to the demo ay 11am on Friday 15th February.
      No excuses accepted, we need your support, so whatever you are doing or commited to make sure you are there.

      All those who came to the last demo make sure you are there and bring a friend, husband, wife or partner etc.
      Don’t think because you came last time that that is enough we need to keep this ongoing

    • hi, i came to the 1st protest 2nd feb really wanted to be there today but my boss was unable to change my shift. i really would like to know how it went today. my heart is breaking with what i saw on that video.owned horses myself over the years,and with all this horsemeat i feel violated,our beloved horses shud never ever suffer, hope its closed down asap.

  7. Slaughter of all horses, ponies and donkeys should be outlawed and made illegal. We keep these beautiful animals as PETS and companion animals (myself included). My horse is my joy and mine for life – signed out of the food chain on the day I bought her and when she goes, she will be cremated like any other pet I’ve owned (including rabbits). We wouldn’t send a dog or cat to a slaughterhouse so why should we send a horse? How anyone in this country or any other could consider eating a sentient, intelligent animal is beyond my comprehension. How easy it is to turn a blind eye to everything that upsets us – its about time we all stood together and said enough. But hey, those burgers in the supermarket are CHEAP ..

  8. Sue McAuley says:

    I live in Lincolnshire and have just found out about this terrible place through Hillside animal sanctuary which I support. I have four horses of my own (one of which I’ve had 21 years now) and I love them dearly. God willing that they do not outlive me, they will be with me their entire lives.

    Horses have served humans for thousands of years and in this country we owe them a debt of gratitude for their service to our industries, tp farming and of course to their sacrifices in the first world war. Do poople think we would be where we are today if it wasn’t for horse power? They are intelligent animals and deserve to be treated with respect and care. They are very astute creatures and know what’s going on. When I lost my beloved horse, Copper,recently (He died at Liverpool University Hospital in Cheshire – they couldn’t save him) my old mare was distraught that he did not come back to her and it took months to get her to accept a new friend. News of this place has distressed me immensely… and for those who say well someone has to do it.. well someone should not have to do it and certainly not in these conditions. Those who breed horses indiscriminantly and or train horses and then sell them without any thought to their futures – all should feel guilty too. I was in tears and will be every time I think of this place. People of Nantwich – Get it shut down and to the UK public – Stop the export of horsemeat – it disgusts me.

  9. Carey Ostrer says:

    Sadly I couldn’t come to the protest against the Red Lion slaughter house but I am there in spirit. Its a disgrace that the place is still open for business. We need to send a strong message to other slaughter houses and get those cameras in – it wont solve all the problems, but I do hope some of them. Personally I think the mass killing of all domesticated animals – eg for meat and leather, etc, – is cruel. We are all Earthlings. If you haven’t seen this film you might like to:

  10. if you shut it down they will get travelled half way around the world and there are people in the world starving to death so waste is not needed in this day and age. And more to the point what about all the cruel halal killing and kosher killing thats far worse than this.

  11. Maggie Worsell says:

    Sadly theirv are more Horses than loving owners ,over breeding ,has a lot to answer for especially the gypsy cob
    I do not object to the slaughter of Horses provided it is as

    • would you like to be slaughtered? why horses? why cows? why sheep? why slaughter anything or anyone to EAT it? We do not need to eat a dead animal. Carnivores eat their prey as they kill it. We are not carnivores

  12. Vicky Hardwick-woolley says:

    I couldn’t bare to watch all of this footage,it was so horrible.
    I have a horse who’s retired at 28.. I was so glad to see him in the morning as this really touched a nerve. This place needs to be shut down NOW!!!!! Those poor,poor horses.
    I don’t eat meat so this goes for all animals as im sure this sadly isn’t an isolated incident.

    All animals going to slaughter should be handled with dignity and care. I WISH no animals had to die like this but humans are mind set that this is the way we’re ment to eat. I haven’t eat meat or fish for years and im fine.

    PLEASE get this cruelty stopped.. Dose any animal deserve this?

    So,so sad :-(

  13. I will be there tomorrow – in support of all those innocents who never asked to be born yet ended up ‘thrown away’ when the going got tough or, through no fault of their own, didn’t make the ‘grade’ that their human possessors wanted. It’s not horrifically expensive to give, what has no doubt been your loyal friend, a humane end at the place they knew as ‘home’ and most vets worth their salt will now will agree a payment plan to help spread the cost. If you can’t afford cremation (which is expensive – my horse cost me £900 for an individual cremation but i had planned for it and she is here at home with me) – the local hunt is a good point of contact. If you just want to ‘offload your burden’ – god help you – you are no better than the perpetrators of this heinous crime.

  14. Dennis I.Leeds says:

    The Law requires ALL animals to be pre-stunned out of sight of the slaughter hall/room,so,why is it not happening?

    There should be absolutely no dispensation for Halal or Kosher abbatoirs who should also be made to obey our Laws.

    Whilst the FSA is allowed to inspect abbatoirs but I suspect seldom does so,therefore, as a double check the RSPCA should be given similar powers.

  15. Karen EL-Rhman says:

    I was so sickend to see what was happening to those poor horses.It is beyond me how anyone could do such a thing.To hear that preagnant mares have the same treatment is so sad. We should not be killing horses and sending them to Europe SHAME SHAME SHAME.

  16. Esther Rooney says:

    Barbaric,sickening,harrowing,disturbing- there just aren’t enough words to describe how vile the act of slaughtering any animal is. I’m so glad I’m a vegan- at least I go to sleep at night with a clear conscience. Most people who claim to love animals also eat them…… Really don’t get that!!!!

  17. We had our much loved horse put down at the beginning of last year, he was bought for my daughter as an 11th birthday presant, she is now 34. He was put quietly to sleep in his stable at the grand old age of 38. It would be a wonderful world if all animals were loved and cared for after their working life ended. Unfortunatly human greed tarnishes everything in this world.

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