horse (pic by tasweertaker)

Workers at a Nantwich abattoir have had licences revoked after an undercover film showing treatment of horses being slaughtered.

The film, made at the Red Lion abattoir at Broomhall, near Wrenbury, shows images of horses being beaten and neglected.

Animal welfare group Hillside Animal Sanctuary carried out the secret filming, which Sky News revealed online today (January 18).

And it comes in the wake of the row over horse meat being found in burgers bought in UK supermarkets such as Tesco.

Two slaughtermen have now had their licences revoked by the Food Standards Agency, according to the Sky News report.

The video shows horses being beaten with rods, crammed into pens three at a time, and sick and injured horses left overnight rather than being put down swiftly.

The news report states that under The Welfare of Animals Act 1995, horses should not be slaughtered in sight of one another because of the distress it causes.

Organisations including the RSPCA, World Horse Welfare and British Horseracing Authority all moved to condemn the actions seen in the video.

One of the Hillside investigators said it had been the most “harrowing experiences” he’d come across.

In the report, the Red Lion Abattoir said the incident viewed in the film was 0f an “isolated nature” and that disciplinary action had been taken against the individual involved.

They also said in the report that it viewed “animal welfare and public health with paramount importance.”

Horses slaughtered at the facility are destined for the European food markets.


  1. Barbara Sargeant says:

    Totaly agree with all the coments this is a disgrace-but unfortunaely people will not take responsability for disposing of a old or unsound horse or pony so put them in sales hoping some kind person will give them a home for life-unfortunaly there are very few homes like that, the only slaughterhouse who do the job corectly are Potters in Somerset,-Turners use a cattle stun gun which is not the corect gun

  2. hollie a says:

    Any news on the vets identity at the abattoir what has happened to him/her or is another vet now in attendance.
    Is it the FSA provides a vet at a nominal fee to attend to check on conditions of animals and check passports.. If that is correct then why arent they there at all times to ensure the animals are “humanely” killed NOT just to check passports etc.,
    What is hapening to the FSA appointed staff who call themselves food hygiene inspectors or again are the FSA turning a blind eye to that too. WHy ££££££ speaks volumes…

  3. Irene says:

    Well done Hillside for this harrowing but horrifying investigation.
    The cruelty inflicted on animals at all similar establishments knows no bounds – clearly CCTV should be mandatory . The perpetrators of this appalling cruelty must be named and punished – NEVER to be allowed to work anywhere near animals again.

  4. nicola allen says:

    please join our peaceful protest to close the red lion and speak for defenseless animals, we are planning to meet on saturday 2/2/13 in nantwich town center market place proceeding to the red lion, we want to make a stand as this barbaric cruelty must be stopped, mr turners hell hole should be shamed it is a disgust to our environment, please join us !!

    • John says:

      Are you going to march on KFC too? I dont decry for a minute what you are doing, but the Red Lion is a mere pinprick of cruelty compared with the legalised barbarity that is Halal; available nationwide

    • Zade shakeshaft says:

      Hi can you give me any more details about this protest me and a few others would like to show our support to, and would it be worth getting in contact with sky news who covered the story and seing wether they would like to show any coverage of this??

    • Debbie R says:

      I will be at protest. I know Turners say it is an isolated incident, but how come I have seen Red Lion workers buying horses at Beeston Horse Sales, and kicking them to get them to the loading ramp. This also includes foals and yearlings. Could something be done about this also.

    • jackie says:

      several years ago whilst out walking ,i saw 2 lorries parked in a layby in Acton. They were loading carcasses of 5 fine looking horses from one to the other. I feel guilty that i did nothing apart from asking them what they were doing and got short shrift. Perhaps this business extends further than just cruelty. good luck with the demo. sorry i cant be there

  5. by chance I saw this report on the treatment of these horses at the abbatoir, I was totally shocked and mortified to what I saw. It rearly is about time someone in this country did something about the treatment which is carried out on these places, it is not new to discover what goes on. Where was someone in authority to stop this, obviously just as bad as the people guilty. I am writing to the PM to hopefully make someone in the government aware as to what goes on. There are too many attrocities taking place in this world which we have to live in. Horses like many other animals are sensitve and very much aware of mankind they put their trust in people and develop a bond with their owners. Where did the poor creatures come from I hope the owners are ahamed as to what happened to them, horse sales where these people operate this type of business (which is done for their own pockets)must be stopped NOW. Horses and ponys have to be put down when the time comes but this should be done humanely in the correct place and manner. I hope this report is not going to be put on the back burner and forgotten about, certainly not by me and I hope there will be much support, and the people responsible must be banned from ever having anything to do with animals again.

  6. Jan says:

    What’s wrong Nantwich News? As you haven’t published my admittedly forthright comment of yesterday (21.1.13) I can only presume it’s hit some nerves! So I’ll try again in an effort to inform people (isn’t that your job?) I’d like to know why these slaughterhouse establishments, when exposed for wrong-doing (and there have been a great many recently) always trot out the same excuse of “its just an isolated incident…” and then think that by firing a couple of folk that will bring a swift resolution to the situation? Is it because they’ve found this ridiculous method of kiddology really does pull the wool over the eyes of the public and authority alike? In similar cases this sorry state of affairs has allowed those in charge to refuse to name those responsible (to allow a cruelty conviction to be sought through the courts) by spouting such contentious excuses as “…they weren’t sure who was on duty that day…” – mmm, so the owners/managers don’t even know WHO is on their premises and doing their job properly but they’ll happily pay their wages nevertheless? Come on! The whole situation is just abhorrent and the main reason why ALL abattoirs should be made by law to install CCTV and be held liable to hand over the tapes on demand at any given time to any animal welfare organisation that has reason to ask for them – a bit like a CQC for animal welfare (but it would need to demonstrate it had proper teeth!) So may I appeal via this medium to all those out there who have been angered and sickened by this awful evidence to use those emotions in a positive way and make representations to your MP to support and call for the use of CCTV in ALL abattoirs {Animal Aid is just one welfare organisation already lobbying for this) because believe me, the latest ARE NOT isolated incidents by any means. To that end I make no apology whatsoever for hoping – like many others – that the Red Lion (Turner’s) abattoir gets its licence revoked forthwith and is made to shut down. Maybe with a harsh example set abattoirs would at last learn to employ the right kind of staff. And what is my justification for wishing this place out of business? Well, one tiny bit of effortless research has uncovered it’s not the first time this particular firm has had a brush with the media (and Animal Aid) and in fact quotes (from Valerie Turner herself) in respect of “hassles associated with their decision to slaughter horses” go back as far as 2006/7, yet more than 5 years later and here we are again having their dirty little secrets brought under public scrutiny, this time by the marvellously compassionate Hillside Animal Sanctuary in Norfolk, to whom I would like to say a resounding “well done & thank you” for their tireless (and not without risk) efforts to expose such needless horrors to the public sensibilities.

  7. Isobel says:

    This is absolutely disgusting and chills me to the bone. I didn’t even know this place existed, it should be closed down. Totally disturbing.

  8. Nicola everett says:


    Put there faces in our local paper

  9. Kellie says:

    Not even worth commenting on as nothing will get heard its a dam shame that this is aloud to go on!?!?! whats the point in the RSPCA and so on and so forth if its only being discussed on a web site and no forceful proper action being taken????????its a no brainer vets, council RSPCA and basically anyone that can possible doing something about this ort to be ashamed of yourselves doing such minimal action??
    Quote “The video shows horses being beaten with rods, crammed into pens three at a time, and sick and injured horses left overnight rather than being put down swiftly.”


    “Two slaughtermen have now had their licences revoked by the Food Standards Agency, according to the Sky News report.”

    Oh you naughty naughty men a slap on the wrist should see you right??????????

    Yeah ok thats a good enough punishment…NOT!!


  10. Jemma Scott says:

    How about we name and shame these pathetic excuses of human beings? They at the very minimum should be banned from slaughter house work and kept away from animals for as long as they live.

    • Patricia Staley says:

      I am sick and disabled but will travel to the protest .
      I presume Derek Turner and Valerie Turner will be available.
      Including Local Mp, agricultural minister, and how about Defra to say but a few.
      Turners have blood on their hands and money in their bank accounts.
      Yes there is a need for properly run abattoirs is is fact of life but correct procedures need to be upheld and licenses permenantly removed when vets/welfare representatives and MP’s do not perform and adhere to a strict code of practice.
      I really hope this recent report gets the promotion via the Internet to succeed in a turnout which will result in a massive turnout. Horses need a voice we are that voice.
      Defra/MP’s the media have a responsibility to support this protest and help put an end to this cruelty.
      They also are seriously accountable.

  11. Gill says:

    Sickening, despicable and those responsibe should be named and shamed. Well done to the investigators. The slaughter house should be shut down immediately if they display such total disregard for the well being of those animals in their care.

  12. beverley rose says:

    The racing industry has a lot to answer for as well as all those people who breed horses indiscrimatley. This Red lion abattior is a disgrace and should be shut down immediatley. The owner of this place should face cruelty chages along with his employees. Unless places like this are made an example of then this cruelty will continue. Its up to the athorities to prosecute these people,as Defra has clear guidelines the horse should be stunned individually, as they are highly intelligent animals.

    • lindsey berends says:

      I would agree with the previous comment that the horse racing industry as alot to answer for, particulary with the recession which has seen alot of horses abandoned and ultimately ending up as horsemeat.
      From articles I have read recently it appears that horses from the UK are sent to Europe for slaughter and the conditions out there aren’t much better.
      Horses seemed to have suffered a very cruel fate with this recession as they are first thing to go when people are short of money and are not really animal lovers. The situation is Ireland has been horrific with horses being abandoned in streets and culls taking place to reduce the number of unwanted horses which is mainly arisen due to horses being overbred for the race industry.
      Personally, I think the race industry needs more regulation to prevent the overbreeding of horses and money should be set aside to enable horses to live out there final years in peace once they have served there purposes. Maybe then we would see a reduction in the amount of horses being sent to slaughter.

  13. CLAIRE JAKEMAN says:

    Absolutely revolting. Start at campaign to close the abattoir down. WHERE ARE THE VETS ????????????? I know lets stun them, hang them up and cut bits off! WHERE ARE THE VETS ?????????????. You need to go to Ireland and the so called FACTORY HORSES get the same abuse at markets.

  14. John says:

    Absolutely dreadful, of course, but doesn’t virtually every fast-food outlet now proudly offer Halal ONLY? Hundreds of thousands of animals killed in exactly this way; look for the discreet signs.

    To avoid offending the minority, we give the uncomplaining majority no choice but to be complicit in cruelty.

  15. Helen says:

    Yes Nantwich will now be reknown for cruelty, to which a blind eye was turned. Disgraceful.

  16. susan shaw says:

    your article should name and shame the people involved in this. there is no excuse for cruelty like this. who are the owners? and why have the local inspectors not done something about it? it must have been going on for a long time.
    the people of nantwich should make sure this place is shut down for good. sue shaw

    • Gerald Norden says:

      The perpetrators of such cruelty MUST be named AND PUBLISHED – as local councils have rafts of bureucratic staff, inspectors, managers, trivia paper carriers etc., where on earth are their “FACTORY and FOOD” Inspectors? – busy trying out pizzas in convivial surroundings?

      How was this news broken on “Sky TV” -several days before the BBC took an interest?

      The behaviour the all those connected with this slaughterhouse is a disgrace to civilised society – the business should be closed and the building raised to the ground – no compemsation or “golden good-byes”.

  17. It was disgusting to watch the mistreatment of the horses at the abbattoir in Nantwich.My wife and myself are horse owners and to see them treated in such a way is disgusting.The abattoir should be closed down not just two people having license suspended.We even heard of it while we are here in Italy.It certanily has done the lovely town of Nantwich no good all over europe.Here a veterinary surgeon has to be present at slaughter and ensure the humane treatment of the animals and it has to be a state veterinary surgeon so they are independant of the Abbatoir.Its a sad day when europe does better than britain in animal welfare.
    From a food perspective the meat from an animal that is distressed when slaughtered isnt as good quality as one that is calm and humanly treated so there is absolutly no justification for treating any animal in an unhumane way prior to death.
    My wife is always campaigning over her against the eating of horse meat amongst the europeans.To discover Nantwich has such a connection with the horses meat industry is shocking.
    Horses owners also have a responsibilty towards their horses.OUr own elderly horse had inoperable cancer and was euthanised at home so avoiding any distress to the horse as we stayed by his side until he was dead.

  18. Lynda Healey says:

    Why do these abbatoirs always say, when brutality is exposedby covert filming that such shocking cruelty is “an isolated incident”? It clearly isn’t, otherwise why are they fighting ferociously proposals to install CCTV in all abbatoirs in order to prevent such crimes being carried out and going unpunished .CCTV Is installed in streets,shops,most business premises. It is a crime prevention measure. Please write to your MPand demand this becomes legislation without further delay. And remembernext time you fancy a flutter on the Grand National, that many of these sad and terrified, beautiful animals are those unfortunate thoroughbreds born for and use and abusedd in racing then discarded.

  19. Geraldine Reid says:

    Sickening. Nantwich is now famous for that. Close the abbatoir down.

  20. Rennie says:

    Wow ,and you council take tax off these people.They should close the place down,rather than sit on their a s and do nothing.This was disgusting and vile.How could this business be able to run in leafy Cheshire.

  21. kaz says:

    They got disaplined, and? Give them the same treatment, or better give these men to a crowed ov horse lovers,

    • Hollie springer says:

      This has been going on for years!. Name and shame the horse beaters!.
      And the vet should be struck off with immediate effect!.
      The “licensed” horse slaughterers should have the licence taken off them. At the end if the day this could be your pet horse!. Lets just hope that the horses being abused werent recognised by their owners!. Shocking footage
      Close the place down NOW
      Remove the licence NOW
      Strike off the vet NOW
      Contact cheshire east council NOW- licensing dept
      Make the owners publicly accountable as well as the staff!.
      Change of name doesnt mean putting a STOP to this vile place!.
      Horses should die wih dignity NOT being abused!.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website, to learn more please read our privacy policy.


Captcha * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.