40,000 people support mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses

A petition signed by 43,737 members of the UK public, demanding mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses licensed to take horses, has been handed to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Launched by the World Horse Welfare charity, the campaign was initiated to ensure that the public and horse owners are confident that equine slaughter is carried out humanly.

World Horse Welfare chief executive Roly Owers said: “World Horse Welfare believes that compulsory CCTV is a vital aid to help protect horses and, while we believe there is a role for humane slaughter in Britain, inhumane slaughter has no place and is indeed illegal.

“We hope to make a strong impact on Defra with the number of signatures we have collected from our compassionate supporters. Defra cannot ignore the seriousness of this call for action or fail to recognise the importance of regaining public confidence in humane slaughter – or food safety.”

However, a Defra spokesperson told MeatInfo.co.uk: “CCTV is not the most effective monitoring tool. There are more effective ways to ensure animal welfare standards are upheld. We’ll be keeping the need for compulsory CCTV in slaughterhouses under review.”

She added that other new measures were taking place to ensure high welfare standards at slaughter as per EU Regulation 1099/2009, which came into force on 1 January this year.

“These include the requirement for a competency licence for people involved in either killing animals or related operations, such as handling animals in the lairage (area where animals are kept before slaughter),” the Defra spokesperson explained.

The campaign has been backed by public figures such as BBC Formula One presenter Lee Mckenzie, British Olympic equestrian sportswoman Mary King and three-day eventing elite sportswoman Pippa Funnell and husband William.
 
“We hope the public will continue to show their support for change in 2014,” Roly added.

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