CCTV will be made mandatory in all English slaughterhouses following a decision by the British government.
The announcement by Defra – the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – has been welcomed by equine charity World Horse Welfare, which has campaigned since 2013 for mandatory CCTV in all areas of a slaughterhouse, as recommended by the Farm Animal Welfare Council.
From spring 2018, CCTV will be required in every slaughterhouse in England in all areas where live animals are present, and that Official Veterinarians (OVs) will have unrestricted access to footage which must be kept for 90 days. Slaughterhouses will have six months to implement the new requirements.
World Horse Welfare Chief Executive Roly Owers applauded the Government for the welcome advance for equine welfare. “Accountability and transparency are essential if the slaughterhouse is to remain an option for horse owners, most especially those who cannot afford the high price of euthanasia.”
The charity believes that CCTV can aid the OVs in monitoring welfare and also serve as an excellent training resource for slaughterhouses to help make all processes as welfare-friendly as possible.
“Without CCTV in all areas of the slaughterhouse where live animals are present, horses at abattoirs are greater risk of being ‘invisible’ and horse owners needed greater confidence in the process.”
Last year almost three quarters of more than 900 horse owners the charity asked through a Facebook survey said they would not have confidence that horse welfare would be protected throughout the slaughter process. While more than 90% of those asked would not use a slaughterhouse to end their horse’s life, almost half of them would consider it an acceptable option if measures were in place such as CCTV which is constantly in operation and available to the relevant authorities for monitoring at any time.
The Government’s consultation response cited that: ‘World Horse Welfare noted that market pressure for CCTV was not present in horse slaughter but there was a need to increase confidence in horse owners that slaughter was a humane end of life choice.’
Owers said the charity was grateful to everyone who has helped achieve the change, either by signing its petition, writing to their MP or sharing the campaign. ”We have been delighted with the wide support we and other organisations have received on this issue, and we look forward to seeing the details of the proposals.”