Slaughterhouse CCTV uptake stalls

The uptake of CCTV in abattoirs has slowed, according to the latest research from the Food Standards Agency (FSA). 

Just 49.3% of red-meat slaughterhouses and 70.4% of white-meat slaughterhouses have some form of CCTV for animal welfare purposes, according the the FSA’s May 2016 CCTV survey.

That compares to 48.8% and 70.8% respectively when the same survey was conducted last year.

CCTV uptake “may have plateaued”, the FSA said. However, it believes it is well placed to continue to work with industry and government partners to ensure further growth in CCTV monitoring.

“We support the use of CCTV by business operators as part of their system for monitoring and protecting animal welfare,” the agency said in a statement. “It does not replace direct oversight by management, or checks by officials, but it can improve their effectiveness.”

While there is no legal requirement for business operators to install CCTV in slaughterhouses, the FSA is just one body that backs its usage.  

The British Veterinary Association and the Veterinary Public Health Association have repeatedly called for the mandatory use of surveillance cameras in slaughterhouses, while a recent publication has suggested that the industry should be made to pay for compulsory abattoir CCTV monitoring.

However, the Association of Independent Meat Suppliers claims that the “current obsession” with mandatory surveillance is deflecting from the issue that there are “virtually no” clinically experienced vets working in British abattoirs.

Some 278 slaughterhouses took part voluntarily in the FSA’s CCTV survey.

Despite the findings, the FSA estimates that 92% of cattle, 96% of pigs, 88% of sheep and 99% of poultry throughput comes from premises with some form of CCTV in use.

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