Red Lion Abattoir protest in Nantwich

Scores of protesters gathered in Nantwich town centre to demonstrate against a local abattoir at the centre of an investigation into abuse of horses.

The Red Lion Abattoir, at Sound Heath near Wrenbury, is being probed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the RSPCA.

It comes after a secret video filmed slaughtermen at the abattoir, which was broadcast by Sky News.

People from around the country travelled to Cheshire to take part in the protest, which also included a two-minute silence outside the abattoir.

TV crews from ITV and Channel 4 covered the demonstration, as Cheshire Police officers looked on.

One of the organisers Nicola Allen, who was at today’s protest, told Nantwichnews: “The fact the abattoir is still trading after this with only two staff having their licences revoked has upset a lot of people.

“We as a horse community have heard horror stories about this place for years with no proof. We’ve had people from as far as Glossop, Bristol and all over at this protest.

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

The abattoir’s owners High Peak Meat Exports has declined to comment.

Campaigners want to see a change in the law to prevent slaughter of horses and to install CCTV cameras in all abattoirs in the future.

The secret film was made by Hillside Animal Sanctuary, based in Norfolk. The film allegedly shows horses being beaten with sticks, a rope and iron rods to move them into metal pens.

Two slaughtermen have had their licences withdrawn by the FSA while the investigation continues.

(Video by Drew Kirk Productions)

(Pictures by Jonathan White)

Red Lion Abattoir protest

Red Lion Abattoir protest 1


  1. oh close the bloody place down, simple

  2. Caroline Raffell says:

    I have been a horse owner all my life and was horrified and appalled at the footage taken inside the Red Lion Abbatoir. Sadly I agree that we do need some abattoirs in this country for the slaughter of horses as much as it pains me to say it, but these should be closely regulated and monitored so that this is done in a quick and humane way for these animals. Otherwise as other people have mentioned these animals will end up being shipped abroad whilst still alive to endure more pain and suffering before ending their life in a foreign abattoir, where we have no idea what the conditions may be like. The Red Lion Abattoir should not be allowed to continue trading after such shocking treatment of these horses, this surely is not an isolated incident in this plant and I can’t believe that the owners are not aware of what is happening in their own premises. World Horse Welfare are petitioning for CCTV to be installed in UK abattoirs so this disgraceful treatment of horses can be stopped, please sign the petition.

    • Hi- just read your message regarding the petition to put CCTV cameras in horrible slaughterhouses, but i cannot find the petition to sign? I really hope this works and they do something. Surely all these comments should go to government?

  3. julia johnson says:

    I was one of the protesters Saturday and I was ther for one reason to close redlion down not every slaughter house in the UK. The abuse that took place ther is unaceptable weather a one off or not . As for the lady on the horse she put her horse in to a stressfull situation not only at a slaughter house were horses can sense death but to say we were wrong to protest when the woman herself admitted to having not seen the footage filmed hillside. Yes ther is aneed for this type of buisness but only in the correct dignified manner

  4. Please sign our petition so we can join with other rescues to stop this now.


  6. emma hartshorne says:

    I agree with L Head above. The abbatoirs in the UK are essential but there should be 24/7 CCTV monitoring and staff should have to undergo rigourous training before being allowed to work in abbatoirs. it seems they dont care that animals feel pain and fear.
    With regard to the Irish loophole, more work must be done to monitor horses going in and out of Ireland, often horses are stolen from the UK and shipped to Ireland, now I know why!

  7. How ironic that the so called animal lovers were haranging the lady so much that is caused obvious distress to her horse, yet only the blonde female stepped forward to try and calm it.

    • You talk rubbish your point of view is rubbish, you run on about the horse being distressed on Saturday in front of the protesters outside the slaughter house, if she had a point of view to make why on earth bring a horse and put it into a situation like that , need say know more

  8. I am not for horses being shipped live abroad for slaughter, or sent live on planes to Japan for horse sushi as is done from Canada. However, this torture chamber needs to be shut down to make an example to other business people who pay their way in life by killing horses. If you abuse them, you lose your millions. And to people who sell their horses and don’t keep track of them for life, you are just as responsible for these horrors, maybe more responsible, than anyone else.

  9. Claire Mellish says:

    How the owners can say this is an isolated ‘one-off’ incident astounds me. If so, what are the chances of finding such illegal abuse from just one secret filming?! CCTV is needed in all abattoirs – profit and secrecy together always lead to abuse. It is only due to the filming by Hillside this was ever exposed.

    This abattoir should be closed down.

  10. This latist appalling discovery of the treatment to horses at the Red Lion Slaughterhouse has uncovered a huge can of worms. Sadly this is not the first and it will not be the last findings of this behaviour in the slaughtering of all animals for the food trade. My opinion is that we (all animal lovers) have to try to get the powers that be, to change present laws to this horrible trade, and somehow employ the right kind of human being to have a team of people to carry out checks on all the animals taken into these places where they have to end their lives. Does this mean trying to get the Government to listen to us, so that something can be finaly done. Everyone knows who has had or has animals the end has to come, there is a kind and humane way of carrying out this task. I have worked with horses most of my early life and had several put down it was always done in a humane way. In this rather sad world we live in people are driven for greed of money with no thought what ever comes in their way. I am there fore hopeing there are some of us out there prepared to try and deal with this by appealing to the right people. I also agree with seversl other comments which have been made, and the closure of this slaughter house is a must lets hope this is the beginning of better things to come and that those reponsible are severly punished and fined with a large enough one that rearly hurts. The business with the wrong type of stun gun used must be looked into by someone who had knowledge of this weapon, with an alternative method to be used on all horses and ponies. I could go on but better not, I still feel sick from the the bows of my stomach as to what goes on in these places. IT MUST BE STOPPED ONCE AND FOR ALL TOGETHER WITH THE LIVE EXPORT OF ANIALS WHICH GO ABROAD.

  11. Julie Quincey says:

    I am outraged to hear about what happens at this slaughterhouse. I am ashamed to say I knew nothing about this until yesterday. I’d be really pleased to receive any email updates you have in future.
    Many thanks,

  12. Please can readers be aware that MANY horse lovers DO NOT support the closure of British abbattoirs or a ban on slaughtering horses in the UK. What happened in Cheshire is unforgivable but the result should be greater monitoring and higher standards of care and respect for any horse, or indeed any animal going to slaughter.
    The reasons for this are simple – a ban would lead to an increase in horses being shipped abroad live for slaughter, utilising loopholes such as via Southern Ireland to Europe and suffering greatly on long journeys with not food or rest. This would lead to huge and serious welfare issues, – you only have to look at WHW campaigns against live exports to understand why.

    • Hey this hole horse killing in nantwich seems to be getting to the hole nation&abroad(4 petitions). well done every one that has voiced their concerns in the protest on saturday. Hope it does get the message through to the public about the way horses are treated at this site and things can be altered as there is no excuse for any animal to be treated in the way shown at the red lion abattoir.Passports need to signed by vets stating that the horse is not for human —–.only horses without drugs should be entered into the food chain. Their is a need to clear unwanted horses with out stress but that can not happen with out good managment.correct training and above all understanding that horses are not cows. all livestock are covered by vets at kill.EU again The EU govern more than the uk gov over many issues in our country.

    • I completely agree with you, unfortunately these slaughter houses are necessary due to far too much breeding. I do not like it happening but it is a fact, there are too many horses and the situation is getting worse. BUT these places must be constantly monitored so that it is all done humanely and maybe owners should take more responsibility, as judging by the photos many of the horses should have been destroyed long before they were. These places are preferable to horses being shipped on long and awful journeys where the end is even worse.

  13. caroleen woolley says:

    All i can say i realy hope the people from Defra and the Rspca that i spoke to about this place 6 years ago and couldn’t be bothered to get of their backsides to go & investigte sleep soundly in their beds withthe knowledge that they could have prevented the suffering of these poor animals, call themselves animal lovers what a joke.

    • This is an ongoing problem with the RSPCA in my experience they only want the publicity to generate more income hillside animal sanctuary are the real good guys when it comes to animal welfare, the red lion wants closing down end off

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.