James Brokenshire has welcomed the Government's commitment to ensuring that CCTV becomes mandatory in slaughterhouses, in order to safeguard the welfare of animals and bring those who may be engaged in the wilful neglect of animals to justice.
The Government ran a consultation on proposals to introduce CCTV into slaughterhouses earlier this year and, following its closure, the Environment Secretary has confirmed that the Government intends to pursue this important change.
Whilst the Food Standards Agency estimates that 94% of slaughtered cattle, 96% of pigs, 90% of sheep and 99% of poultry are already processed on premises with CCTV, it is important that we ensure that all animals are treated well and with dignity.
The objective of the proposal is to improve animal welfare in slaughterhouses and provide assurance that there is effective monitoring and verification of animal welfare standards. It is proposed that authorised officers such as Official Veterinarians of the Food Standards Agency will have unfettered access to these facilities for the purpose of monitoring and verifying animal welfare standards in the slaughterhouse, including access to live and stored footage. This would enable them to check samples of CCTV footage both in real time and retrospectively, which broadens their monitoring options. The footage would need to be stored for 90 days.
Commenting, James said:
"This is welcome news for those who have long campaigned for mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses. The UK benefits from having some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world, far exceeding those seen elsewhere in Europe. It is important that we maintain and continue to improve these standards and this change is an important part of that."