New legislation will be introduced in the New Year making slaughterhouse CCTV a legal requirement in all areas where live animals are present, with unrestricted access to at least 90 days of footage for Official Veterinarians. The new law will come into force in the spring, with slaughterhouses allowed an adjustment period of up to six months.
The new legislation followed a public consultation which was overwhelmingly in favour of compulsory CCTV. Defra says that out of almost 4,000 respondents, more than 99% were supportive of the plans.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: "We have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world and want to cement our status as a global leader by continuing to raise the bar.
"The reaction to this consultation highlights the strength of feeling among the public that all animals should be treated with the utmost respect at all stages of life and be subject to the highest possible welfare standards.
"These strong measures also provide a further demonstration to consumers around the world that as we leave the EU we continue to produce our food to the very highest standards."
BVA Senior Vice President Gudrun Ravetz said: "The mandatory installation of CCTV is a vital tool to ensure high standards of animal health, welfare and food safety in all slaughterhouses.
Official Veterinarians carry out an essential role in slaughterhouses by independently assessing and reporting breaches of animal welfare, and unrestricted access to CCTV footage will allow them to carry out this role even more effectively.
We have been campaigning for these measures for a number of years and it is reassuring to see such a high level of support for their implementation from industry and the public."
Heather Hancock, Chairman of the Food Standards Agency, said: "The Secretary of State’s decision to require CCTV in all slaughterhouses is a welcome step towards ensuring that animal welfare and hygiene standards are met across the meat industry.
"Last year, the FSA Board concluded that, without mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses, we would see minimal further progress in businesses improving animal welfare or complying with official controls to protect public health.
"We look forward to working with the industry as CCTV plans are implemented, and to seeing public confidence rise as a result."
The government will now further discuss the details of bringing in the proposals and present draft legislation to Parliament as soon as Parliamentary time allows.
Photo: Lititz, Pennsylvania. Hoisting a slaughtered steer in Benjamin Lutz's slaughterhouse, 1942. Wikipedia.
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