Fit cameras in UK slaughterhouses to curb animal abuse - FSA

By Rory Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Fsa

The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) has tabled a proposal to introduce CCTV (closed circuit television) cameras into slaughterhouses in a bid to tackle animal welfare abuse.

FSA director of operations Andrew Rhodes is calling for the voluntary introduction of surveillance cameras after undercover filming by animal rights group Animal Aid in the last year had highlighted abuses in UK slaughterhouses. The proposal is due to go before agency chiefs next week for approval.

The report said that while there is no legal requirement to fit CCTV, food business operators (FBOs) may come under pressure from retailers to install systems. The FSA acknowledged there were practical issues – such as how the footage in monitored, who has access to it and how long film is kept – that must be addressed.

The agency warned that if the industry was unable to stop animal welfare breaches and refused to fit cameras, it would consider stationing extra inspection staff in premises and charge FBOs until “compliance could be satisfactorily demonstrated”.

Undercover filming

Between August 2009 and May 2010, Animal Aid had shown the FSA five undercover films and a further report, based on filming, showing abuses of pre-slaughter handling, stunning and sticking of animals in slaughterhouses. The agency said it had investigated all breaches and suspended slaughter men where appropriate as a result of the allegations.

The FSA described breaches of animal welfare rules at slaughter “wholly unacceptable”. ​It said it had been “striving to improve industry compliance”​ and that CCTV would be a useful tool.

An animal welfare survey of by the Official Veterinarian had shown that just six per cent of slaughterhouses in Great Britain (which is the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland) were not meeting regulatory welfare practices. Just one per cent of premises were carrying out practices that would result in “direct harm​” to animals.

The FSA recognised that “industry generally does not support”​ the introduction of CCTV, with the sector arguing that scrutiny by regulators should be sufficient. The agency said that FBOs were responsible for ensuring compliance.

“There is clear evidence that some FBOs are not meeting their responsibilities, and therefore CCTV is a useful additional tool in securing compliance and provides assurance for their management, the FSA as regulator and ultimately consumers,”​ said the FSA report.

Related topics Processing & Packaging

3 comments

CCTV in Slaughterhouses to prevent mistreatment of animals

Posted by Jane Allman,

CCTV is an absolute necessity in slaughterhouses to prevent animal abuse. It is not enough for the slaughterhouse owners or the supermarkets to pledge more inspections or audits or better training. We all know that workers will not abuse animals when there is an audit underway or an inspector on the premises. CCTV acts as a deterrent and the footage could be used as evidence should it be needed.

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CCTV Cameras are a necessity.

Posted by Deborah Pattinson,

CCTV cameras are necessary in the prevention of such barbaric cruelty that goes on in the majority of slaughterhouses. Animals have to live in terrible conditions and are subjected to such unbelievable torture. The least we can do is to help prevent them being tortured before their sad fate.

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Animal Cruelty

Posted by Marie Piekarski,

No living creature should be subjected to such cruelty and unacceptable conditions. I find this not only disgusting but shocking that in a so called civilised modern society this continues. Surely we've moved on from cavemen days?

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