What's the issue?
CCTV is a useful tool in helping to make sure that legal requirements are met and high animal welfare standards are maintained within slaughterhouses. It complements the existing physical presence and controls exercised by Official Veterinarians (OVs) to assess and maintain compliance with animal welfare standards.
In England, CCTV has been mandatory in slaughterhouses, with unrestricted access for OVs, since November 2018.
In Scotland, the Scottish Government announced plans to introduce mandatory CCTV in all slaughterhouses following a public consultation. Legislation is expected in 2019.
CCTV is not compulsory in Wales or Northern Ireland. In March 2018, Welsh Government announced a £1.1 million Food Business Investment scheme package of grant aid for small and medium size slaughterhouses to support infrastructure, and the installation and upgrading of CCTV monitoring systems.
What's our view?
CCTV recording should be mandatory in slaughterhouses in all areas where live animals are present, with unrestricted access to real time and stored footage for OVs.
The benefits of mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses are:
- increased opportunities to observe and verify handling of animals and the proper application of the stun and slaughter process;
- increased opportunities to protect the food chain and public health;
- increased consumer confidence that food business operators are taking all necessary steps to prioritise, assess, and address animal welfare issues;
- provision of a valuable training tool for slaughterhouse staff to promote best practice and compliance with legislative and commercial standards; and
- provision of supplementary evidence in response to any allegations of illegal practice.
Whilst CCTV footage checks are a valuable additional measure for enforcement, they shouldn't reduce or replace the physical monitoring and verification of animal welfare and meat hygiene requirements that OVs undertake.
If you're in Wales or Northern Ireland, write to your elected politicians to support our call for the introduction of mandatory CCTV in all slaughterhouses. Find your local politician(s).