The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the Veterinary Public Health Association (VPHA) have re-iterated their call for mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses and legislation to ensure vets have unrestricted access to slaughterhouse CCTV footage.
The call follows undercover filming by an animal welfare organisation in the Simply Halal slaughterhouse which revealed serious abuses of animals at slaughter despite the fact CCTV was installed in the slaughterhouse. The footage is reported not to have been stored. Figures from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) reported in The Times suggest over 30 slaughterhouses refused to share footage with official veterinarians (OVs) working in slaughterhouses under the authority of the FSA.
According to FSA’s own figures 90% of slaughterhouses in the UK have CCTV, aimed at monitoring and improving animal welfare at slaughter. However, BVA and VPHA have urgent concerns that the purpose of CCTV in slaughterhouses is fundamentally undermined if vets are refused access to footage and the footage is not monitored independently of the slaughterhouse business operator. Under the current law OVs have a right to request and see the footage if they have cause for concern that abuse may be occurring. However, if this needs to be enforced though the courts the process can be protracted.
CCTV can only aid animal welfare at slaughter if OVs have full and unrestricted access to footage as independent monitors.
BVA President Sean Wensley said:
“It is unacceptable that there are slaughterhouses that are not willing to share CCTV footage with official veterinarians. We are lobbying for CCTV to be mandatory in all slaughterhouses and for legislation to ensure that footage is readily available to vets. We need to foster a culture of compassion in slaughterhouses, coupled with robust and effective enforcement, so that the animals we farm for food have both a good life and a humane death.”
VPHA President Lewis Grant said:
“The promotion of good animal welfare is fundamental to the core values of the VPHA and the ability of OVs in slaughterhouses to freely monitor the activities at the point of slaughter would not only ensure good animal welfare but also serve to promote the integrity of the industry as a whole.”