Defra commits to CCTV in slaughterhouses
CCTV will become mandatory in all slaughterhouses in England, the government has announced, following years of campaigning by vets.
Environment secretary Michael Gove outlined a series of new measures today (11 August) to reinforce the UK’s status as a global leader in animal welfare.
Under the new rules, CCTV will be required in all areas where live animals are present. Official Vets (OVs) and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) will be given unrestricted access to the footage. Currently, OVs may request to see the footage if they suspect abuse, but if this has to be enforced by the courts it can become a lengthy process.
Mr Gove’s announcement has been warmly welcomed by the BVA, FSA and Veterinary Public Health Association (VPHA), who have long called for mandatory CCTV. BVA president Gudrun Ravetz described it as “a huge win for animal health and welfare”.
FSA chairman Heather Hancock added: “We look forward to the introduction of a comprehensive requirement for using, accessing and retaining footage from CCTV in abattoirs. We see CCTV as an invaluable management tool for business owners to help with compliance with official controls and to improve animal welfare standards across the industry.”
Defra has also pledged to to raise standards for both farm animals and domestic pets by modernising statutory animal welfare codes, to reflect advances in medicines and technology, as well as the latest research and veterinary advice. The first to be updated will cover chickens bred for meat. It is expected that the codes for laying hens, pigs, dogs, cats and horses will be updated over the next year.
Consultations on both proposals have been published today.
The BVA, VPHA and British Veterinary Poultry Association will consider the detailed plans before submitting their full response to Defra.