TWO fish farms that supply rainbow trout to high-end shops remain under investigation by the RSPCA over allegations of animal welfare violations.

The RSPCA is looking into the farms after campaign group Viva filmed workers allegedly throwing live trout and kicking them to the ground as they struggled for air. Viva also claimed dead fish were left to rot at some sites.

The RSPCA told the Daily Echo after the charity was alerted to the footage on January 27 it suspended four farms from the RSPCA Assured scheme. These were Test Valley Trout’s Itchen Abbas, Romsey and Island sites, and Trafalgar Fisheries’ Barford site.

After a rigorous in-person assessment, and a further detailed review of the footage, the RSPCA concluded there were no breaches of animal welfare standards, or RSPCA Assured requirements, at the Barford or Romsey farm. They have now had their suspensions lifted, however the sites will have more visits from the charity over the next few months as an extra precaution.

A spokesperson from the RSPCA said: “The other two farms remain suspended [Test Valley’s Itchen Abbas and Island sites] while our investigations are ongoing. “This means they cannot label or market any trout from these farms as RSPCA Assured. “Any allegations of animal welfare issues, or breaches of the RSPCA Assured membership agreement, are not tolerated and we take them very seriously.”

The trout farms supply supermarkets and retailers including Waitrose, Abel & Cole, Harrods and Fortnum & Mason.

The Times has also reported the allegations of poor animal welfare standards.

In response to The Times’ story Test Valley Trout Farming said it was “deeply disappointed” to see Viva’s footage but said it does not reflect “normal practice”.

It added: “This does not, however, undermine the seriousness with which we take the issues raised and in particular the handling procedures shown which were unacceptable. We have agreed to a full review of all processes and procedures with immediate effect.”

Chalk Stream, the brand under which fish from the farms is marketed, said it found the images on the film “very distressing and extremely concerning”.

It said it had stopped all orders and started discussions with the farms about new safeguards.

The brand would only renew orders when it was “certain” of the correct standards being in place, it added.