CCTV to become compulsory at all slaughterhouses in England
Under the proposal announced this Friday, all areas where live animals are present would be filmed and the footage accessible to the Food Standards Agency (FSA)'s official vets, with a view to reassuring consumers that high welfare standards are being effectively enforced. Recordings could be used to impose sanctions on factories in breach of welfare standards.
The measure applies to England only.
FSA chair Heather Hancock welcomed the announcement and said: "We see CCTV as an invaluable management tool for business owners to help with compliance with official controls and to improve animal welfare standards across the industry."
The move was an electoral promise of the Conservative Party, as is a wider revision of animal welfare legislation. Gove announced that the rules covering broiler chickens would be revised first. The objective here is to "raise standards for farm animals and domestic pets by modernising statutory animal welfare codes to reflect enhancements in medicines, technology and the latest research and advice from vets".
"As we prepare to leave the EU, these measures provide a further demonstration to consumers around the world that our food is produced to the very highest standards," Gove said. The tightening of standards in the UK raises the prospect of importers raising their own requirements from suppliers in countries like Ireland in the future.
A public consultation on the CCTV and chicken welfare proposals is opening this Friday. Welfare codes on laying hens, pigs, dogs, cats and horses are expected to be updated over the next year.