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Mandatory CCTV in all slaughterhouses under new animal welfare plans

11th Aug 2017 / By Zoe Davies

Environment Secretary Michael Gove has announced a series of measures to further strengthen animal welfare standards in England.


CCTV will be mandatory in all slaughterhouses in England under new plans announced today (11 August 2017) by Environment Secretary Michael Gove, as he outlined a series of measures to cement the UK’s position as a global leader on animal welfare.

The proposals will deliver a manifesto commitment for CCTV to be required in every slaughterhouse in England in all areas where live animals are present, with unrestricted access to footage for Official Vets - reassuring consumers that high welfare standards are being effectively enforced.

The Government has also confirmed it will 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. The codes will remain enshrined in law and the first to be updated will cover chickens bred for meat. The new pig code is expected to come out for consultation later in September.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said:

“We have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world and the actions I am setting out today will reinforce our status as a global leader.

“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.”

Defras consultation on the proposals here

Under the new plans for CCTV, footage would be accessible to the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) Official Veterinarians (OVs), who monitor and enforce animal welfare standards in the slaughterhouse. The FSA has strict processes in place for the approval of slaughterhouses, and specially trained vets carry out checks to make sure the welfare of animals is protected throughout their time in the slaughterhouse. If breaches are found, a slaughterhouse can be given a welfare enforcement notice, have its staff’s licences suspended or revoked, or be referred for a criminal investigation.

NPA Chief Executive Zoe Davies welcomed the plans as CCTV has been in place in most pig slaughterhouses for some time and has shown to benefit plants for training staff and improving security on site. She stressed however, that it must not be seen as the sole tool for use when dealing with any animal welfare complaint as it can only paint a partial picture of the true situation.

Zoe had previously stated in the NPA’s response to the FAWC consultation on CCTV in abattoirs in 2014, that whilst CCTV can help to provide information to assist with site management, particularly in areas that are not always manned or in use, it should not be used as a replacement for trained staff in situ, or to make assumptions about general standards within the plant.   

NPA will be responding to the constultation so if members have any comments, do please contact us via