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CCTV recording will become mandatory in all slaughterhouses in England next year, Environment Secretary Michael Gove said. Defra (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) will take the plans forward after what it termed an extremely positive reaction from the industry, welfare groups and the public.
In August, the Secretary of State launched a consultation on the plans to deliver a Conservative Party 2017 election 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 Veterinarians – reassuring consumers that high welfare standards are being effectively enforced.
Legislation will be introduced in 2018, coming into force in the spring. All slaughterhouses will be required to comply following an adjustment period of up to six months.
A summary of responses showed that of almost 4,000 respondents, more than 99% were supportive of the plans.
Michael Gove said: “We have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world and want to cement our status as a global leader by continuing to raise the bar. The reaction to this consultation highlights the strength of feeling among the public that all animals should be treated with the utmost respect at all stages of life and be subject to the highest possible welfare standards. These strong measures also provide a further demonstration to consumers around the world that as we leave the EU we continue to produce our food to the very highest standards.”
The Government agrees with respondents in favour of mandatory CCTV to protect animal welfare in slaughterhouses. The proposals will also give the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) Official Veterinarians (OVs) unfettered access to the last 90 days of footage to help them monitor and enforce animal welfare standards.
The FSA has processes in place for the approval of slaughterhouses, and vets carry out checks to make sure the welfare of animals is protected throughout their time in the slaughterhouse. 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.