CCTV in Scottish slaughterhouses one step closer as Government announces raft of welfare measures

07 September 2017

Scottish Government has announced that it will consult on compulsory CCTV in abattoirs in another major win for animal welfare in the UK, following years of campaigning by the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and Veterinary Public Health Association.

The announcement, in the Government’s Programme for Scotland 2017-18, is part of a wider package of animal welfare measures and comes less than a month after Defra announced similar measures on CCTV in England. 

Commenting, Melissa Donald, President of BVA Scottish Branch, said:

We're delighted that Scottish Government is looking seriously at introducing mandatory CCTV in abattoirs. Although a high percentage of abattoirs in Scotland already have CCTV, there are no rules governing how the footage is used or kept, and it is essential that Official Veterinarians have unrestricted access so they can fully monitor animal health and welfare throughout the slaughterhouse. 

“Following Defra’s announcement last month I wrote to the Cabinet Secretary urging Scottish Government to follow Defra’s lead in order to maintain Scotland’s reputation for high animal welfare from farm to fork.” 

Gudrun Ravetz, BVA President, added:

“Mandatory CCTV in all areas of slaughterhouses will provide an essential tool in fostering a culture of compassion that could help safeguard animal welfare and we will be pushing for a commitment from Scottish Government for Official Veterinarians to have unrestricted access to footage.

"Vets’ independence and unique qualifications help ensure that we continue to have the highest standards of animal health, welfare and food safety.”

BVA has also welcomed other animal welfare measures in the programme, including a communications campaign on the risks of buying puppies online and rehoming dogs from abroad, improvements to licensing for dog, cat and rabbit breeding, dealing and selling, and progressing the Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses Bill.

Dr Donald said:

“Vets have been raising serious concerns about the growth in the illegal puppy trade for some time. A BVA survey in 2015 found that a quarter of UK vets had concerns about puppies they had seen in the previous 12 months, and in Scotland it was a third of vets who had concerns. 

“We fully support a Government communications campaign to raise awareness of the risks amongst those who want a dog or puppy in order to help them source a healthy, happy pet, and we would urge the Scottish Government to support the use of the puppy contract and puppy information pack.

“We also welcome the revision of standards around the registration and licensing of animal activities, but would caution that any independent accreditation must be robustly enforced.” 

BVA Media Office