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Slaughterhouse owned by controversial 'Exclusive Brethren' leader, under fire for corruption and animal abuse

Thu 11 Jan 2024, 7:00am
  • New footage from Scottsdale Pork slaughterhouse in Tasmania shows pigs being tipped into scalding water while apparently conscious, and showing signs of consciousness, including blinking, after their throats have been slit. 
  • Farm Transparency Project, who captured and released the footage, are claiming that the abattoir was built as a result of government corruption and "shady backroom deals," and are demanding its closure in the wake of the footage.
  • Scottsdale Pork is owned by members of the Plymouth Brethren (known as the Exclusive Brethren) religious group, and was built in 2020-2021 after receiving 2 million dollars of government funding. 


View footage and screenshots

New footage has been released showing the slaughter of pigs at Scottsdale Pork slaughterhouse, owned by members of the controversial religious group, the 'Exclusive' Brethren. The footage shows pigs being hit across the face and body, kicked and crushed with heavy metal doors by workers, as well as apparently conscious pigs being tipped into a tank of scalding water, after having their throats slit. 

Scottsdale Pork was built in 2020-21 after the closure of JBS Devonport, Tasmania’s only dedicated pig slaughterhouse. Despite being a private abattoir, primarily servicing Scottsdale Pork’s own nearby piggery, Tasmania’s Liberal government granted $2 million to Scottsdale Pork to assist in the build. This decision was heavily opposed by the Greens Party, due to the company's ties to the Exclusive Brethren religious group, whose leader holds widely documented transphobic and homophobic views and is a major donor and supporter of the Liberal party. 

In September 2023, investigators from Farm Transparency Project installed covert cameras to document the slaughter of pigs at the facility, including the use of electrical stunning, which is considered to be an alternative to the carbon dioxide gas chambers used in the majority of pig slaughterhouses Australia wide. 

Harley McDonald-Eckersall, Strategy & Campaigns Director of Farm Transparency Project, said that their footage showed that pigs seemed to suffer just as much using this method of incapacitation, and appeared to regain consciousness more frequently, including after their throats had been slit. 

"What we see in this footage is pigs who are still awake and aware even after their throats have been slit, meaning that they can likely feel pain and terror as they slowly bleed out. Some pigs who are noticed by workers, are stunned again using a bolt gun, however others appear to remain conscious, even as they are lowered into a 'scalding tank', which is a vat of almost boiling water used to soften the skin and hair of dead pigs to assist in their dismemberment."

The footage shows one pig making a desperate attempt to escape, leaping from the stunning restraint and running across the floor of the kill room. That pig is cornered by multiple workers and shot in the head with a bolt gun, before having their throat slit. They die, thrashing in agony on the floor of the kill room. 

McDonald-Eckersall says that this footage doesn’t just indicate a severe animal welfare issue, but that it points to a deeper issue of corruption inside the state government. 

"Scottsdale Pork is an example of the Australian government using public money to support the unnecessary and unjustifiable abuse of thinking, feeling animals. These kinds of shady, backroom deals are exactly why we are calling on the Tasmanian government to call for real action in response to this footage, including an independent inquiry into the provision of public funds to a tax-exempt religious organisation for the purpose of building a slaughterhouse which nobody, apart from the organisation in question, seemed to have wanted."

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