TWO former slaughterhouse workers have been jailed for cruelly attacking pigs in their care.

Piotr Andrzej Wasiuta, 30, and Kelly Smith, 40, were captured on film by an animal rights group abusing pigs at Cheale Meats in Brentwood.

Wasiuta was locked up for six weeks after admitting three charges of causing unnecessary suffering under the Animal Welfare Act, whilst Smith was jailed for four weeks after admitting two charges.

In their defence the men claimed they were under enormous pressure to kill 1,500 pigs each day and there was a larger culture of cruelty in the slaughter industry.

Addressing the pair at Westminster Magistrates' Court, chairman of the bench John Newgas said: “You have both seen the pictures of what took place and what was shown was clear animal cruelty, there is no doubt about it.

“In both cases we see aggravating factors, extra culpability, that you were in positions of responsibility to the animals which were kept as part of a livelihood and weapons were used and several animals were affected.

“It was gratuitous behaviour for no reason other than apparent pleasure.”

The court was shown CCTV footage of father-of-one Wasiuta, of Jones Close, Southend, stubbing cigarettes out three times on the pigs snouts, whilst father-of-three Smith, of Church Road, Hadleigh, routinely lashed out at the animals with a baton after becoming frustrated.

The offences took place between March and April last year and footage showed Smith hitting one pig 30 times in 60 seconds.

Kate Fowler of Animal Aid, the charity who captured the shocking footage at the business in Orchard Farm, in Little Warley, called for changes to be made under the Animal Welfare Act because the Government refused to act on the charity's evidence.

She added: “We are satisfied that Wasiuta and Smith have now been brought to justice.

“However, many other slaughterhouse workers, who also caused serious and deliberate suffering to animals, have escaped justice because this Government refused to act.

“The current regulatory system does not work. It does not catch those who abuse animals.”