"Quite distressed" heifer escapes from abattoir in Glossop

A heifer that escaped from the abattoir of J W Mettrick & Son in Glossop and headed for the moors in a frantic bid for life was eventually recaptured at Chunal and returned to the slaughterhouse this morning (January 8th 2013). A spokesperson for Derbyshire Constabulary said "We had several calls from members of the public about a cow/bull on the loose at around 7.45am today. Sightings were at Princess Street, Chunal Hill, Pikes Lane and Slatelands Road. Apparently it was quite distressed. Eventually it found its way into a field by jumping over a wall and headed towards moorland. Once it was off the road and no longer causing any public safety issue police were no longer involved."


Staff at the Glossop shop declined to comment, and referred us to Steven from the J W Mettrick & Son abattoir on Victoria Street. He told us that it was in fact a heifer not a bull, and that the animal had escaped through a gate and was recaptured at Chunal by Mettrick's staff. He confirmed that the animal is now dead and hanging. Meat from the animal will be on sale locally after two weeks.

Mettricks' abattoir is one of the few small independent abattoirs left in the UK after stringent EU regulations forced most to close. The butchers is renowned for its meat, and is often considered the best in England. However there is clearly room for improvement in animal handling techniques at the abattoir, because in May 2012 a drove of pigs also escaped, and a few years before that a "massive bull" escaped and had to be shot by a police marksman.  

Asked to comment on the incident John Mettrick said "All our abattoir staff are fully trained in animal welfare and handling and we have a gate system that should contain animals if used properly. Unfortunately human error can be a factor and my brother Steven and I are disappointed that this has happened with 4 experienced men on site.We have investigated the incident and on top of all the measures we have in place we have stipulated that all gates must be shut and secured as would be the norm and the staff have to sign that this has happened.We hope that by staff signing off the gating procedure this will prevent future escapes.The staff are aware that if the procedure is not adhered to disciplinary action could follow.We have also provided more chains and locks and additional signage to remind staff of there responsibilities. We take this kind of occurrence no matter how rare very seriously and would like to apologise to anyone who was upset or  inconvenienced in any way.I can assure you that the animal was herded away from public areas as best as we could and after a period of settling down was despatched humanely."

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