Legislation to make CCTV cameras mandatory in slaughterhouses in England to safeguard animal welfare has been laid (23 February) by Environment Secretary Michael Gove.
The proposals will also give the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) Official Veterinarians (OVs) unfettered access to the last 90 days of footage to help them monitor and enforce animal welfare standards.
President of the British Veterinary Association (BVA), vet John Fishwick said: “Mandatory CCTV in all areas of slaughterhouses will provide an essential tool in fostering a culture of compassion that could help safeguard animal welfare.
“We commend the Government’s commitment to provide Official Veterinarians with unrestricted access to the footage, which the veterinary profession has long been campaigning for.
“It is vets’ independence and unique qualifications that help ensure the UK will continue to have the highest standards of animal health, welfare and food safety post-Brexit.”
BVA and the Veterinary Public Health Association, which represents OVs who oversee animal health and welfare and public health in slaughterhouses, have been campaigning for both mandatory CCTV in all areas of slaughterhouses where live animals are kept and full and unrestricted 24/7 access to CCTV footage for OVs as part of their long-standing welfare at slaughter campaign.
The new legislation will come into effect from May 2018, once it passes through Parliament, at which point businesses will have six months to comply.