CCTV will be mandatory in all slaughterhouses in England under new proposals announced today by Environment Secretary Michael Gove.
The proposals, which are subject to a consultation process, deliver on a manifesto commitment for CCTV to be required in every slaughterhouse in England in all areas where live animals are present, with unrestricted access to footage for Official Vets – reassuring consumers that high welfare standards are being effectively enforced.
The Government has also confirmed it will raise standards for farm animals and domestic pets by modernising statutory animal welfare codes to reflect enhancements in medicines, technology and the latest research and advice from vets. The codes will remain enshrined in law and the first to be updated will cover chickens bred for meat.
“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,” said Environment Secretary Michael Gove.
“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.”
Welcoming the Government’s plans, British Veterinary Association President Gudrun Ravetz said: “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.
“Vets’ independence and unique qualifications help ensure that the UK will continue to have the highest standards of animal health, welfare and food safety.”
Heather Hancock, Chairman of the Food Standards Agency (FSA), commented: “The FSA 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.
“I and the Board of the FSA warmly welcome Defra’s consultation about making CCTV mandatory. 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.”