Government announces mandatory CCTV to be introduced in all slaughterhouses

10 November 2017

The UK Government has announced that mandatory CCTV will be introduced in all slaughterhouses in England next year, following an extremely positive reaction to the proposal from vets, industry, welfare groups and the public. 

This is a huge achievement for BVA and the Veterinary Public Health Association (VPHA) who have been campaigning for this for many years.

The decision comes off the back of the publication of responses to the consultation on the CCTV proposals launched by Environment Secretary, Michael Gove MP, which showed that more than 99% of respondents were supportive of the plans to introduce mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses.

Read BVA, VPHA and the Association of Government Veterinarians' (AGV) joint consultation response to Defra's Mandatory CCTV recording in slaughterhouses proposals.

The Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (Defra) announced that CCTV will be required in every slaughterhouse in England in all areas where live animals are present. Official Veterinarians (OVs) who oversee animal health and welfare and public health in slaughterhouses will be given unrestricted access to the last 90 days of footage, allowing them to monitor welfare standards even more effectively.

BVA and VPHA – who represent OVs who work in slaughterhouses – have been campaigning for both compulsory CCTV and 24/7 access of footage to OVs in order to safeguard animal welfare, assist with enforcement and instill consumer confidence.

Legislation will be introduced in the New Year, coming into force in the Spring 2018. All slaughterhouses will be required to comply following an adjustment period of up to six months.

British Veterinary Association Senior Vice President Gudrun Ravetz said: “We are delighted that these measures, helping to safeguard animal welfare, will come into force next year and that the Government is fully committed to implementing them.

“Official Veterinarians carry out an essential role in slaughterhouses by independently assessing and reporting breaches of animal welfare, and unrestricted access to CCTV footage will allow them to carry out this role even more effectively. 

We have been calling for mandatory CCTV and unrestricted access to footage for many years as part of our welfare at slaughter campaign. It is reassuring to see such a high level of support from industry, welfare groups and the public for this essential tool in fostering a culture of compassion in slaughterhouses.”

Veterinary Public Health Association President Lewis Grant said: “The Government’s announcement that CCTV will be mandatory in all slaughterhouses is a welcome step towards ensuring that animal welfare is a high priority across the meat industry by allowing Official Veterinarian monitoring at all times.

“VPHA members look forward to working with the industry as CCTV is implemented, and to seeing welfare improve with public confidence rising as a result.”

The Government will now further discuss the details of bringing in the proposals and present draft legislation to Parliament as soon as Parliamentary time allows.

Read the full ‘Mandatory Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) recording in slaughterhouses: Summary of responses and Government response’.

BVA Media Office