BMPA director Stephen Rossides said that while CCTV could be appropriate in some premises, the main issue to maintain high animal welfare rested in proper training and the responsible behaviour of staff.
He said: “It is fundamentally important that all abattoir operators meet the requirements of the law and apply high animal welfare standards. Operators should have internal systems in place to ensure proper training of slaughter staff and to monitor stunning and slaughter either constantly or in ways that enable inconspicuous observation of stunning and slaughter at any time. In many premises CCTV may be an appropriate tool for this purpose, but it should be the operator’s decision. In practice, many, if not most, of our members already have CCTV installed in the stunning and slaughter area.
“We have some concerns about compulsory CCTV. Does it, of itself, prevent animal welfare breaches? Ultimately, this comes down to proper training, and responsible and humane personal behaviour by individuals, though management should also inculcate a culture of high animal welfare awareness.
“We also have questions around who has access to CCTV footage and how it is used. And for some businesses, the cost of CCTV may be an issue. Finally, do we want to introduce yet more regulation?”
Current legislation does not require slaughterhouses to install CCTV, but a paper due to be presented to the Food Standard Agency's board meeting on 15 November stated that “Defra Ministers are currently considering their position with regard to mandatory installation of CCTV by businesses and introduction of other measures to improve animal welfare standards in slaughterhouses.”