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Bowood Farms

Four members of Chambers instructed in Bowood Farms Slaughterhouse cruelty case

The long running slaughterhouse cruelty case of R v Woodward & others has finally concluded.  On the day of trial at Northallerton Magistrates Court in January 2018, a director of Bowood Farms Limited, two licensed halal slaughtermen and a third operative pleaded guilty to cruelty offences arising out of the way in which sheep were slaughtered.

The case received national media attention when the charity ‘Animal Aid’ placed covert cameras in the Company’s non-stun halal slaughterhouse at Thirsk in December 2014 and filmed slaughter operations over three days.  The footage revealed widespread animal suffering at the abattoir during those three days.

A District Judge at York initially dismissed the prosecution in the mistaken belief that the prosecution had been brought out of time.  Prosecutor Howard Shaw successfully argued before the Divisional Court that the prosecution had in fact been brought within the statutory time limit and the proceedings were resurrected.

The defendants were finally sentenced on Friday the 2nd of March 2018 at Leeds Magistrates Court.  The director with day-to-day control of the Plant and the two halal slaughtermen received suspended sentences of imprisonment and the third operative received a Community Order.


The Divisional Court case is now the leading case on the time-limit provisions of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.  It is reported at R v Woodward & others [2017] EWHC 1008 (Admin); [2017] 181 JP 405; [2017] Crim LR 884.

Howard Shaw is regularly instructed in cases involving animal welfare offences in slaughterhouses; and in cases involving hygiene offences in the food industry on behalf of the Food Standards Agency and local authorities. Chris Moran, Christopher Boxall and Holly Clegg each appeared on behalf of the defence.

Click here for full details of the case.


Contact our regulatory & public clerks

Madeleine Gray on 0113 202 8603

Harrison Browne on 0113 213 5217

Ricky Kimachia on 0113 213 5252