Animal rights protesters laid flowers outside a slaughterhouse currently being investigated over claims of animal cruelty.
More than 30 protestors from animal protection organisation Animal Aid travelled from Kent to protest outside the Malik Food Group slaughterhouse, formerly known as Riley Brothers, where they were joined by volunteers from Lancashire Animal Save.
Animal Aid had previously placed hidden cameras inside the slaughter area where sheep were filmed routinely having their throats repeatedly cut, as many as seven times, in contravention of the law, as a result of the slaughterman failing to maintain a surgically sharp knife.
Luke Steele, farming and slaughter campaigns manager at Animal Aid, said: “We laid flowers to show some compassion to animals being transported to slaughter during our peaceful vigil.
“Shocking undercover footage captured at the slaughterhouse by Animal Aid shows barbaric and deliberate scenes of cruelty being inflicted on animals.
“A criminal investigation is underway but, contrary to what many may believe, the slaughterhouse is still trading.
“We want to ask caring people everywhere to stop the kind of suffering filmed at Malik Food Group by simply swapping animal products for a meat-free alternative. Never before has it been so easy to enjoy a cruelty-free meal.”
The FSA, which regulates animal welfare in slaughterhouses confirmed there had been “serious non-compliances with animal welfare legislation” during its initial review.
In response, the Agency launched an investigation, withdrew the licence of one slaughterman and is understood to be considering bringing criminal proceedings.
A spokesman for the FSA said: “Based on our findings we have taken immediate enforcement action against both the business operator and individual plant staff, including the issue of Welfare Enforcement Notices and revocation of slaughterman certificates of competence.”
The slaughterhouse traded as Riley Brothers until February 2016, when the business went into administration.
In July 2016, Junaid Malik formed a partnership with Stephen Riley, re-establishing the abattoir as Malik Food Group.