CCTV cameras are now a mandatory requirement for all UK slaughterhouses, under new legislation finalised today (4th May). The decision - which was spearheaded by Environment Secretary Michael Gove - has received a positive reception from both the industry and animal welfare organisations alike.
200 MPs voiced their support for compulsory CCTV, reflecting a nationwide concern for Britain’s meat industry. Between 2009 and 2016, animal welfare group Animal Aid secretly filmed inside 11 slaughterhouses across the country. Their footage provided clear evidence of law-breaking cruelty to animals, with the most extreme examples showing workers beat, punch and stub out cigarettes on livestock.
Animal Aid have enthusiastically welcomed the landmark decision, noting; “This will go a long way in protecting animals from some of the deliberate and sadistic abuse brought to light time and again by our investigation. A heartfelt thank you to our wonderful supporters for the many actions you have taken to demonstrate your dedicated and unwavering support to date. We welcome this positive news on a long-fought campaign.”
In a document published today, the government laid out new regulations for UK abattoirs. Crucially, they have until the 5th November 2018 to install a sufficient CCTV system that covers every area where livestock may be present. All footage must be retained for 90 days and is subject to random review from the Food Standards Agency's Official Veterinarians. If an establishment is found guilty of any breaches, they will either be given a welfare enforcement notice, have their staff licenses reviewed or, in extreme circumstances, be referred for a criminal investigation.
By enforcing cameras in abattoirs, the government hopes to appease Britain’s ever-expanding vegetarian community and cultivate a culture of compassion across the meat industry. The Farm Animal Welfare Committee, British Veterinary Association and the RSPCA, along with several supermarkets, have all expressed their support for the legislation.
Speaking of the initiative, Michael Gove summarised; “We have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world and the actions I am setting out today will reinforce our status as a global leader. As we prepare to leave the EU, these measures provide a further demonstration to consumers around the world that our food is produced to the very highest standards.”
For the official government guidelines concerning the CCTV legislation, please visit; https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cctv-in-slaughterhouses-rules-for-operators