POLICE were yesterday reviewing footage of a pig being excessively prodded and kicked by an employee at Corowa’s Rivalea abattoir.
The video was filmed by activists over three days in February and provided anonymously to new animal rights organisation, Aussie Farms.
The footage has been uploaded to video-sharing website Vimeo with the title “Humane slaughter” at Corowa NSW abattoir, Australia 2014.
Aussie Farms operations director Chris Delforce said the footage showed several instances where pigs were being forced into a gas chamber.
“Most show excessive use of the electric prodder and the clearly panicked reactions of the pigs that often try to jump out of the race rather than go into the chamber where they can hear other pigs suffocating,” he said.
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Albury rural crime investigator Detective Sen-Constable Scott Barton said police were investigating the footage received last Wednesday.
He said police would work with the RSPCA, the lead investigation agency in animal cruelty matters.
Rivalea’s managing director Mick Hewat said in a statement that the mistreatment of animals was not tolerated at any of the company’s properties.
“Rivalea has launched an immediate investigation into the disturbing content,” he said.
“We continually invest in animal welfare and are committed to high standards of care for all of our animals.
“Our people continually work to achieve these standards every day.”
Mr Hewat said yesterday all staff had been told of media reports about the footage.
“Meetings were held across Rivalea sites to reinforce Rivalea’s position on animal welfare,” he said.
Celebrity food judge Manu Feildel, who visited Murray Valley Pork’s Rivalea Corowa farm in March last year, yesterday distanced himself from the animal-cruelty allegation.
The French-born ambassador to Murray Valley Pork spoke out on Facebook yesterday.
“One of the main reasons I decided to support the Rivalea brand is because of their commitment to animal welfare, so I am as shocked as everyone is at the footage that has been shown,” he wrote.
“The Murray Valley Pork brand is something I support because I have spent time visiting the Corowa farm and I had confidence in the focus that Rivalea placed on animal welfare.
“Unfortunately, there is always people who will take advantage of their position and power and I can assure this behaviour was committed by one member of staff and is not something the brand has seen or dealt with before.”
Feildel also wrote he hoped the investigation would be resolved as soon as possible and he hoped the staff member involved would be appropriately punished.
“It is definitely not behaviour I would endorse,” he said.