CCTV in slaughterhouses call repeated

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the Veterinary Public Health Association (VPHA) have repeated their call for mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses and legislation to ensure official vets (OVs) have unrestricted access to slaughterhouse CCTV footage.

This follows the recent release of undercover filming by an animal welfare organisation in a 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.

According to a Meat Trades Journal online poll in 2015, 92% of respondents agreed that CCTV should be mandatory in UK abattoirs, with many operators installing surveillance equipment anyway.

According to the Food Standards Agency, 90% of slaughterhouses in the UK have CCTV. Despite this, the 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.

CCTV can only aid animal welfare at slaughter if OVs have full and unrestricted access to footage as independent monitors.

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.

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.

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