Animal Aid

The Food Standards Agency Backs CCTV Campaign

Posted 4 March 2010

Animal Aid’s campaign to tackle the worst aspects of cruelty and incompetence in British abattoirs has taken a major step forward with the declaration by the head of the government’s food regulatory body that he backs our call to have CCTV installed in every British abattoir. Our campaign already has the support of the RSPCA, the Soil Association and Compassion in World Farming.

The Food Standards Agency’s Chief Executive, Tim Smith, said he intended to develop a detailed plan for the industry within six months and that footage should be made available to supermarkets, manufacturers and wholesalers. While cameras cannot be made compulsory, pressure is growing for the industry to adopt them voluntarily. ‘Where we find resistance,’ Mr Smith told The Times, ‘it is from operators with something to hide.’

Animal Aid began calling for CCTV to be installed in all UK slaughterhouses in August last year after secretly filming shocking scenes of cruelty in three randomly chosen abattoirs. Possible prosecutions are pending.

Just four months later, three workers were suspended from a Soil Association-approved abattoir for breaches of animal welfare laws, filmed again by Animal Aid – evidence that has also led to investigations with a view to possible prosecutions.

Since then, Animal Aid has met with industry leaders, politicians and government officials in order to promote our key recommendations: CCTV in all abattoirs, compulsory retraining for all slaughtermen every three years and a ban on anyone with criminal convictions for violence, sexual assault or animal cruelty working in a slaughterhouse.

Says Kate Fowler, Head of Campaigns at Animal Aid:

That the Food Standards Agency, RSPCA, Compassion in World Farming and the Soil Association have now all spoken out in favour of CCTV is an important step. While we believe that all slaughter is shocking and unnecessary, the installation of cameras would encourage best practice, help train and retrain slaughtermen and provide evidence for prosecutions. As such, it is an important initiative that could reduce some of the worst suffering at the most vulnerable time of the animals’ lives.

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