Schedule set for mandatory CCTV initiative in English abattoirs

Mandatory installation of CCTV and recording of all activities within slaughterhouses in England by Spring 2018, under a new legislative proposal announced by Defra.
calendar icon 15 November 2017
clock icon 3 minute read

In an initiative to continually improve animal health and welfare standards for farm animals, DEFRA made the announcement that CCTV will be required in every slaughterhouse in England in all areas where live animals are present, with unrestricted access to footage for Food Standards Agency (FSA) Official Vets (OV).

The move comes with the hope that consumers can be sure that high welfare standards are being effectively enforced at abattoirs in England.

Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, said:

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.

Gudrun Ravetz, British Veterinary Association President, embraced the plans:

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 are particularly pleased to see a commitment to Official Veterinarians having unrestricted access to footage, which BVA has been calling for.

The FSA conducts strict, regular checks on welfare standards within slaughterhouses to ensure that animals are protected throughout the time they are there; if breaches are found, a slaughterhouse can be given a welfare enforcement notice, have its staff’s licences suspended or revoked, or be referred for a criminal investigation.

Commenting on the FSA welfare checks, Heather Hancock, Chairman of the Food Standards Agency, said:

The Food Standards Agency takes a zero-tolerance approach to any breaches of animal welfare standards in slaughterhouses. Last year, we concluded that it was time to make CCTV compulsory in slaughterhouses, progress on voluntary adoption having plateaued.

Recordings will be continuous, official vets will have unrestricted access, and will be retained for 90 days post-recording.

For more information on the mandatory use of CCTVs in abattoirs, click here

Emily Houghton

Editor, The Pig Site

Emily Houghton is a Zoology graduate from Cardiff University and was the editor of The Pig Site from October 2017 to May 2020. Emily has worked in livestock husbandry, and has written, conducted and assisted with research projects regarding the synthesis of welfare and productivity of free-range food species.

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