More than 100 MPs now demand mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses

Posted on the 15th October 2015

The day when slaughterhouses will be compelled to fit independently-monitored CCTV cameras has moved a step closer this week, as Jim Cunningham became the hundredth MP to have signed a parliamentary motion in support of the move.

Early Day Motion 153 was tabled by Easington MP Grahame Morris and now has the support of MPs from across the political spectrum. The campaign is also supported by more than half of all Welsh Assembly Members.

Animal Aid’s call for mandatory CCTV began in 2009 when the campaign group first placed fly-on-the-wall cameras inside UK slaughterhouses. Over the past six years, the hidden cameras have revealed that nine of the ten randomly chosen slaughterhouses were breaking animal welfare laws. They recorded: animals being kicked, slapped, stamped on, and picked up by fleeces, legs and ears and thrown into stunning pens; and animals being improperly stunned and coming round again, or suffering painful and sadistic electrocution instead of being stunned. In one non-stun slaughterhouse, the conscious animals’ throats were hacked at with a blunt knife. Elsewhere, animals were punched in the face, had shackle hooks embedded in their heads, and were mocked and tormented as they suffered abuse. In March 2012, as a result of Animal Aid’s footage, two men were jailed for beating and burning pigs with cigarettes.

The campaign for mandatory CCTV with independent monitoring of the footage is widely supported. As well as the public showing their strong support via a YouGov poll and a Number 10 petition,* it has the backing of the union representing meat hygiene inspectors and slaughterhouse vets, UNISON; vets including Emma Milne, Pete Wedderburn and Marc Abraham; animal protection groups such as the RSPCA and Compassion in World Farming; as well as MPs from across the political spectrum.

The ten leading supermarkets, along with Booker and Freedom Food, all insist that their slaughterhouse suppliers have CCTV cameras fitted but the footage is not yet monitored thoroughly by an independent body that can take robust action should welfare breaches be revealed.

Says Animal Aid’s Slaughter Consultant, Kate Fowler:

‘There is no excuse for the savagery we filmed inside slaughterhouses, and yet it went on right under the noses of vets who are stationed there to monitor welfare. Currently, taxpayers are charged millions of pounds every year for a welfare system that is failing animals. Clearly, things must change. We need a more robust system, and CCTV – if independently monitored – can play an important part in deterring and detecting welfare breaches. We are very grateful for the support of these compassionate MPs, who can see that action must be taken to hold the industry properly to account.’

Notes to Editors

  • Photos of MPs from around the country with Animal Aid’s campaign banner are available
  • For full campaign background, along with a list of all MPs who support the campaign, visit our campaign website
  • A June 2014 YouGov poll found that 76 per cent of respondents support mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses
  • A Number 10 petition, which closed in March 2015, attracted more than 112,000 signatures

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