Hidden Camera Captures Goats Being Abused And 'Left Lame' At Farm Supplying Milk To Supermarkets

Hidden Camera Captures Goats Being Abused And 'Left Lame' At Farm Supplying Milk To Supermarkets

The goats were caught on camera being punched, kicked, hit with a pole and slammed onto their backs at a plant in East Yorkshire.

Image Source: Getty Images/Jay Yuno

Trigger warning: This story contains graphic details and images/videos of animal abuse that readers may find disturbing. 

A farm that sells goat's milk to big names such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, and other supermarkets, is now under scrutiny after videos from a hidden camera revealed that they inflicted a lot of pain to the animals. According to The Independent, the goats were caught on camera being punched, kicked, hit with a pole and slammed onto their backs at a plant that supplies St Helen’s Farm, in East Yorkshire. The poor animals could also be seen bleating out in pain after being manhandled by the employees at the farm. Products manufactured and supplied by St Helen’s Farm are the best-known goat milk products in the UK.


Recently, many people are seen switching from cow's milk to goats' milk and this farm supplies to the big chains of supermarkets. After being shown the video of the animals being abused, Tesco immediately suspended the brand. “We require high animal-welfare standards from all brands sold at Tesco, so these claims are deeply concerning. We have immediately suspended supply whilst we investigate the matter further," a spokesperson for Tesco said. Waitrose and Booths, a grocery chain, also followed suit. The video, almost an hour-long, was sent to the Surge animal rights group.


It was then shown to a vet and to lawyers at Advocates for Animals, who it said “highlighted many serious issues”. People who filmed the video said that at one farm, they saw goats being kicked and punched, hit with a pole, being held by the throat, having their tails twisted, shoved and roughly handled, and were left lame and struggling to stand or walk after the rough handling. Before their hooves were trimmed, rather roughly, the goats were slammed onto their backs on a conveyor belt. In the video, one goat was seen struggling when it was dragged by just one leg. Injuries were also reportedly left untreated, thus prolonging the suffering of these poor animals, said witnesses.


It was also reported that workers even let goats fall off an operating bed, causing them to get stuck between fences. In one case, a worker “played the drums” on a goat’s stomach after a procedure. The footage even shows farm employees dragging dead animals away in front of live ones, and Surge was told that dead and dying animals had been seen around the farm. Ed Winters, the co-founder, and director of Surge said, “St Helen’s is the most prominent and well-known goat company in the UK. They are regarded as being the best of the best when it comes to goat farming. But that means nothing to the animals."


"Goats are sensitive, curious, and gentle animals, but the animal-farming industries treat them as commodities they can exploit for profit. St Helen’s say on their website the milk is a reward for looking after the goats and that their staff have a genuine interest and love for the animals. But it is obvious that the opposite is true at one of their supplying farms. These animals are thrown around and dragged and when they’re no longer producing enough milk to be considered profitable, they’re killed," he added. St Helen’s Farm revealed that this incident occurred on a farm that was expected to comply with a rigorous code of conduct and that it had several animal-welfare accreditations.


“Today we have been made aware of allegations that one farm has infringed animal welfare standards, which we would find totally unacceptable if true.We have immediately ceased all milk supply from this farm and launched a full investigation to determine the facts of this matter.” A spokesperson for the British Retail Consortium (BRC), representing supermarkets, said,  “Our members take their responsibilities to animal welfare very seriously and work closely with trusted suppliers so that high welfare standards are upheld. They have strict processes in place and will thoroughly investigate any evidence of non-conformity to ensure that any problems are immediately addressed. The BRC continues to support unannounced audits on farms to ensure compliance with all farm standards, particularly animal welfare."


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