Seven arrests made after animal rights protesters infiltrate Norfolk abattoir run by Cranswick

Animal rights protestors 'occupy' pig slaughter factory in Norfolk.
Credit: Pignorant
Animal rights protesters took a selfie after infiltrating a pig slaughterhouse in Norfolk. Credit: Pignorant

Seven people have been arrested after an animal rights protest at a pig slaughterhouse.

Police were called to reports that people had "gained entry" at Cranswick Country Foods' pig processing plant in Watton in Norfolk at 6am on Wednesday.

The activists said they were "exposing the horrifying truth inside an abattoir", and had previously filmed a video from inside the facility, using covert cameras, showing pigs being led into the chamber and slaughtered in different ways.

In response to the video, the RSPCA said it had launched an investigation and sent an assessor to the site.

Joey Carbstrong, an activist and film maker who led the protest, was among the five men and two women arrested.

  • Joey Carbstrong posted videos of the group sitting on top of a CO2 chamber on his Instagram page.

Mr Carbstrong had earlier said: "We have occupied the gas chamber at Cranswick today in order to bring attention to the horrifying reality of UK slaughterhouses.

"The majority of the UK public are unaware that most pigs in the UK are tortured and killed in CO2 gas. My recently released investigation at Cranswick in Watton, exposes the facade of 'humane slaughter' in this country.

"The damning footage from our latest investigation brings to light the extreme agony, terror and distress these sensitive animals are forced to endure."

The Humane Slaughter Association has called for alternative ways to stun pigs, other than with carbon dioxide, to be found.

Chief executive Huw Golledge said it should be "replaced with more humane methods at the earliest opportunity".

"Sadly, there is no immediately available alternative system which could be adopted across the pig processing industry, so the industry must work towards a more humane replacement for CO2 as a matter of urgency."

Police outside Cranswick Country Foods in Watton, Norfolk. Credit: ITV News

Norfolk Police had said they were "dealing with an incident" in Watton.

"Officers were called following reports of a number of protestors had gained entry to a food facility in Brandon Road, Watton at 6.07am," the spokesman added.

On its website, Cranswick Country Foods describes itself as "the largest exporter of pork" supplying markets in Europe, Asia, North and South America, Australia and New Zealand.

In the animal health and welfare brochure, the facility said it had "a strong commitment to embed and maintain high standards of high animal welfare across our operations".

It describes its Watton site on its website as “our dedicated processing facility in Norfolk, producing fresh pork, sausages and added value meal solutions”.

At the scene - ITV News Anglia reporter Andy Ward

Police were called to the site just after 6am on Wednesday morning.

There were protesters outside as well with signs and placards saying things such as 'They fight to escape the gas', referring to the pigs which are processed within the plant.

Drivers were beeping horns as they drove past the protesters who were making their points just outside the front gates of the factory.

There was quite a heavy police presence as I arrived just after 10am this morning, which was later stepped down after arrests were made.

At midday, the protesters were still here - they were still trying to make their point and they insisted they would be here for some time yet.

A group of protestors were outside the main gates of Cranswick Country Foods. Credit: ITV News

A Cranswick company spokesman said it could not comment because of the ongoing incident, which it described as "criminal".

An RSPCA spokesperson said the footage in the video was "understandably very upsetting".

They added: "We launched an investigation immediately and sent an assessor to the site to discuss this with the abattoir to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

"Our experts have also carried out a detailed analysis of the footage to identify any breaches of the RSPCA welfare standards.

"We can’t currently make any further comment as our investigation is ongoing."

The seven arrests include three men aged in their 30s, one in his 20s and a fifth in his 50s on suspicion of aggravated trespass. A woman in her 30s was also arrested for aggravated trespass and a woman in her 20s on suspicion of conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass.

All seven people were taken to Wymondham police investigation centre for questioning.

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