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16th Jun 2024

Horse abattoir at centre of ‘sickening’ RTÉ documentary shut down following protests

Simon Kelly

Horse abattoir shut down

The documentary received a strong reaction after it aired.

The minister of Agriculture has revealed that the horse abattoir at the centre of the latest RTÉ Investigates documentary has been shut down.

Charlie McConalogue has said that the abattoir in Straffan, Co Kildare, has been shut pending an investigation into the abuse uncovered by the documentary Horses – Making a Killing.

The show aired on RTÉ One on Wednesday night and used a series of hidden cameras to expose the cruelty going on behind closed doors.

Protests took place outside the factory on Saturday following the release of the ‘sickening’ documentary.

Viewers shocked at ‘sickening’ RTÉ investigation into horse industry

In a statement to the Sunday Independent, Minister McConalogue said that no animals have entered the food chain from the slaughter plant in the past three weeks.

He also said that all carcasses that were presented for slaughter last week are detained and all operations are suspended.

The documentary focused in particular on a lairage shed (where animals are rested before slaughter), operated by Shannonside Foods, which showed multiple incidences of abuse.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has shut down operations at the Straffin abattoir following the findings of the RTÉ Investigates documentary. (Rolling News)

Horses were shown being whipped with long plastic piping, with one being hit in the head multiple times.

Another example of abuse shows a struggling horse falling over before being prodded with a pitchfork to force it up. The horse died hours after.

Operator of Shannonside Foods John Joe Fitzpatrick denied that he was caught on camera during the investigation, telling the Independent that he was in hospital getting a hip replacement.

The investigation led to a very strong reaction from viewers across the country about the abuse going on within the industry.

One viewer expressed their shock: “Absolutely sickening. Well done all involved in this expose.”

Another said: “Is even one person remotely surprised yet again? This is horrendous.”

A third added: “A brilliant show, Tough to watch at times though, it would be great to see and hear of people getting prosecuted for this horrific abuse.”

Another said: “This is the most upsetting episode of Prime Time Investigates I’ve ever watched.”

Two-thirds of the horses involved in the investigation turned out to be thoroughbred racehorses who raced over 3,000 times, earning their owners more than €1.5 million.

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