Trafalgar

Other Names

  • Giles abattoir

Current Operation

  • Closed – 2012, following claims of cruelty.5

Location   

  • Trafalgar is located 130 kilometres South east of Melbourne in Victoria

Australia. Trafalgar

TrafalgarHema Maps – Australia Truckies atlas.

Owner

  • L.E Giles and Sons abattoir2

Operation   

  • Processed Cattle, sheep, goats and pigs5
  • Employed 25 full time workers5

History

2010

  • Late in 2010. Animal activist posing under a false name as a photography student was allowed access to the abattoir. She took video footage of the slaughter of pigs, which was given to Animals Australia Inc. (AA). AA made a formal complaint to both primesafe and department of primary industries2
  • Abattoir had previously allowed schools in, senior vets and allowed people access to the kill floor.
    they had nothing to hide. As far as we were concerned we were operating within the guidelines” Bruce Giles – Former abattoir worker5

2011

  • Nov. 24th. Primesafe contacted LE Giles & Sons and ordered to cease work until further notice due to animal cruelty2
    • Mangement of abattoir attended meeting in PrimeSafe’s office in Melbourne – and were shown footage 25th.2
    • Animals Australia footage as accessed 21.12.13. (Note I actually didn’t watch this as my computer had trouble loading) Trafalgar abattoir – activist footage
      • AA refused to release footage to Herald sun as they had made another deal already with another media outlet.3
      • Film shot by a member of the Animal Liberation Victoria group.3
        • Sarah Lynch – well-known animal activist, had already tried to access another Gippsland abattoir, was allegedly caught filming outside of another.5
  • Sarah Lynch visited abattoir twice – first recorded lamb and beef kill, second visit was to record pigs7
  • Film – last of 60 pigs stunned electronically before slaughter.5
  • One pig escaped and man hit pig with sledgehammer.5
  • workers claim Sarah Lynch stood where it contributed to scaring the pig and it escaping.5
  • Claim of pig running into scalding vat was not possible, as it was physcially impossible for the pigs to go in as the access door was closed and pig would have to leap 1.5m high. “So it didn’t happen” Trevor Stever.5
  • Claim of pig taking 6 minutes to die was “a lot of rubbish” Trevor Stever – former inspector5

Animals Australia. Kates statement. 21.12.13._edited-1Source – Animals Australia.org.  Acessed 21.12.13.
Sarah Lynch (AKA Kate)- Animal Liberation Victoria statement of what she filmed at Trafalgar abattoir late 2010.

  • Sarah Lynch has refused all attempts from media to speak5
  • Management (Ray Giles aged 80 and Colin Giles aged 72) went to meeting with PrimeSafem had no legal advice, felt bullied, intimidated and helpless by aggressive regulator2
    • Agreed to surrender licence, PrimeSafe refused to give any written confirmation of meeting5
  • Regulator announced in papers 26th Primesafe chief excutive officer – Brian Casey, it was his intention to close abattoir permanently3
    • made comments to shut abattoir down while Victorian DPI and PrimeSafe were still conducting investigations
    • Regulator accused of damage control, with snap closure of the abattoir similar impact to Live animal export closure in Ban of 20116
    • Media hysteria of cruelty and closure of abattoir damaged the Trafalgar business name and reputation7
    • Critics of Primesafe say only pig processing should have been shut down not the sheep and cattle lines2
    • Trafalgar were never given opportunity to change processing procedure, yet other abattoirs had similar processing lines and were given the chance to rectify problems7
    • abattoirs across Australia say there is an effective audit process and abattoirs don’t require CCTV installations, the issue with Trafalgar was compliance by owners and operators with regulations that are there.6
  • Brian Casey – said PrimeSafe cancelled licence following receival of fax from Giles  a number of days latter saying it was Giles decision to cancel their licence.5
  • Giles Claim that at meeting Casey threatened them to either hand in licence or have it taken from them, if they handed in, matter would be finished, if they didn’t  PrimeSafe would take as far as they can, even with the possibility of jail5
  • Auditing – Abattoir was audited 4 times a year by SGS ,a  Primesafe approved auditor, last time  a pig kill was audited was November 2004, Since then 26 audits conducted by 4 different auditor but only beef and sheep kills observed2
  • Not once in audits hade PrimeSafe indicated Pig slaughter was incorrect processing7
  • Primesafe accused of massive failure in auditing process due to fact pig kill wasn’t observed, Primesafe had never stated or reported that pig kill process wasn’t acceptable. Other abattoirs had installed kill boxes for pigs and only required photographs to be submitted the premises weren’t inspected.2
  • If audits had indicated that there needed to be a change, then the abattoir would have made changes.2
    • Primesafe argued that the abattoir breached the ruling that the pigs must be individually placed in a restraining box for slaughter, Since 1996 Trafalgar been permitted to stun pigs while the animals remained in their familial groups, a method many, including scientists regard as far more humane5
    • If the method Trafalgar used was wrong their own audit processes failed to pick up.5
  • closure occured in busiest part of year – 2t of legs of pork to be cured for hams, abattoir was given 24 to get rid of it all.5
  • 2 meat inspectors who spoke in support of Trafalgar were reminded by regulator of confidentiality clauses in their licensing, the full time meat inspector at Trafalgar has his licence revoked, Number of butchers licensed under PrimeSafe were unable to speak out as too afraid of repercussions of regulator7

2013

  • April. Department of environment and Primary industries dropped charges against abattoir – not enough evidence4
  • Charges had been against Colin Giles, James Rodwell (quality assurance manager) and three slaughtermen – offences under the Prevention of cruelty to Animals Act.5
    • Slaughterment pleaded guilty but judge noted cruelty wasn’t deliberate and due to loss of jobs had suffered significantly – escaped conviction and given 12 month good behaviour bond.5
    • Slaughtermen were advised to take guilty plea due to cost of fighting charges in court5
  • All other charges dropped by DPI April 15, as believed little chance of successful prosecution5
  • No further explanation has been given to Giles family from DPI for reasons of dropping charges.5
  • Giles had to sell commercial property to fund legal costs $150,000, to contest charges was another $35,000, DPI had bottomless resources of State solicitors office5
  • Animals Australia deny any inapproprate action in issue as their role was limited to lodging the complaint. “The fact that workers pleaded guilty to cruelty offences reiterates the appropriateness of Animals Australia lodging a complaint”5
  • Sept. Flow on effects to producers5
  • Goat producers business was ruined as soon as abattoir closed – had to take animals to Kynton, transport was costly and business was unable to service its customers.5
  • Pig producer of rare breeds was unable to have smaller animals processed at other abattoirs for neiche markets.5
  • Abattoir wasn’t attending markets to purchase animals5
  • Effect on owners – health problems and high stress levels.5
  • PrimeSafe withdrew court proceedings because they couldn’t prove or win the case in a court of law.10
  • Closure of the abattoir affected a number of producers – some closing down. It also affected those who had service kill of farm animals done for home consumption10
  • Oct. False allegations of animal cruelty caused far reaching consequences of business closure1
  • Local farmers say State government PrimeSafe and DPI should be investigated for mishandling4
  • Support site and petition established Community support for Giles (Trafalgar abattoir)
    • to assist with legal action and re-open abattoir
    • 3000 signatures collected on petition and handed to parliament8
    • Personal testaments in media “The Giles family is held in high esteeem by many from within the industry and outside it too” – Peter Kostos – Livestock agent in Gippsland area since 1986.10
    • Kneejerk reaction based on footage gained by an animal activist under deceptive, if not deliberate circumstances, LR Giles and Sons abattoir was closed without justice and due diligence occurring” Peter Kostos10
  • Sources
    1. ‘Bring them to account’ Mail times 04.10.13.
    2. Inquiry into the impact of food safety regulation on farms and other businesses. Sale 18.10.2012
    3. ‘Abattoir shut amid animal cruelty claims’ Herald sun. 26.11.13.
    4. ‘Calls for more investigations in abattoir closure’ ABC Rural 03.10.13.
    5. ‘Overkill’ ABC Landline 29.09.13
    6. ‘Trafalgar abattoir let the whole meat industry down’ Meat trade news daily 09.12.11
    7. Letter from employee to Inquiry – 31.08.13.
    8. ‘Letter: Giles abattoir closure must be reviewed and petition tabled’ Warragul citizen 11.04.12
    9. ‘Guilty until proven innnocent’ Stock and Land 03.10.13.

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