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Report rejects calls for compulsory CCTV in Welsh slaughterhouses

20th Dec 2016 / By Alistair Driver

A report commissioned by the Welsh Government has recommended that CCTV should not be mandatory in slaughterhouses in Wales.

carcasesThe Safeguarding Animal Welfare at Slaughter Task and Finish Group’s report concluded that there was not a 'sufficient basis' for making CCTV in Welsh abattoirs mandatory.

With strong calls for cameras to be installed in abattoirs across the country, the discussion in Wales was being monoitored closely in other parts of the UK.

The report said only eight large abattoirs of the 26 abattoirs in Wales have CCTV.  Although the bulk of animals in Wales are slaughtered in these eight abattoirs, lack of CCTV in other abattoirs means 10.5 per cent of sheep, pigs and cattle are slaughtered in abattoirs without CCTV – nearly 385,000 animals, alongside 3.4 per cent of poultry, more than 2 million birds.

The report’s recommendations encourage abattoirs to install and use CCTV effectively for training purposes.

BVA disappointed

But the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the Veterinary Public Health Association (VPHA) – who represent the Official Veterinarians (OVs) who oversee animal welfare in slaughterhouses – expressed disappointment at the stance taken on making CCTV compulsory. 

They believe mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses with vets having unrestricted access to CCTV footage are vital in order to 'safeguard animal welfare, assist with enforcement and instil customer confidence'.

Neil Paton, BVA Welsh branch president, said: “We are disappointed that the Task and Finish Group has not taken on board the concerns of vets working in slaughterhouses and not followed the logic of their own arguments about the benefits of CCTV highlighted in the report.

"While we know that CCTV is not the answer to all welfare concerns, it is recognised as an important tool by the Farm Animal Welfare Committee and encourages the highest standards of animal welfare and good stockmanship."

Gudrun Ravetz, BVA president, acknowledged that the cost of installing CCTV may be a burden for some very small abattoirs but said CCTV was an important tool in encouraging and implementing a 'culture of compassion' in abattoirs.

Other recommendations in the report included a request for grants to be made available to assist small sites invest in equipment and an additional focus on the improvement of welfare of animals during transport to slaughter.