Seven members of staff at a Banham slaughterhouse have been suspended by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) as investigations continue into animal welfare at the site.
Slaughter operations at Simply Halal were suspended by the FSA in May after the Hillside Animal Sanctuary obtained secret footage at the south Norfolk site.
We started an immediate review of the business’s approval to operate on the basis of the serious deficiencies seen, and we are looking to conclude this review by the end of May 2016FSA spokesperson
The footage, which shows distressed animals, was captured by secret cameras over eight days in six-week period in February and March.
The FSA has confirmed seven members of staff, including a vet and a meat hygiene inspector, have been suspended from work.
An FSA spokesperson said: “The abattoir is not able to slaughter animals but can carry out the cutting of meat.
“Following an FSA investigation, we immediately halted slaughter operations at Simply Halal and launched urgent investigations.
“We have suspended personal licences to slaughter and handle animals (known as certificates of competence) for five individuals, including Simply Halal employees seen in the footage, as we do not consider them to be fit and proper persons to handle animals.
“The Official Veterinarian and the Meat Hygiene Inspector working in the premises at the time of these incidents have also been suspended from their duties pending immediate investigations.
“We started an immediate review of the business’s approval to operate on the basis of the serious deficiencies seen, and we are looking to conclude this review by the end of May 2016.”
Halal meat follows the Islamic form of slaughtering animals or poultry, involving a killing cut to the jugular vein, carotid artery and windpipe.
Animals must be healthy at the time of slaughter and all blood is drained from the carcass. During the slaughter a Muslim will recite a dedication, known as tasmiya or shahada.