Mandatory CCTV in abattoirs to be introduced in 2018
Published:  13 November, 2017

CCTV recording will become mandatory in all slaughterhouses in England next year, Environment Secretary Michael Gove said following a public consultation on the issue. 

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) will take the plans forward following what it described as “an extremely positive reaction from the industry, welfare groups and the public”. There were 3,869 responses to the consultation.

Legislation is expected to be introduced in the New Year, coming into force in the spring. All slaughterhouses will be required to comply following an adjustment period of up to six months.

This comes after the Secretary of State launched a consultation on the plans to 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 Veterinarians (OVs).

Some concerns were raised about the length of time a business would be required to keep the footage – 90 days.

Of the 13 abattoirs that responded to the consultation, eight were against unfettered access to footage for OVs. Many respondents also expressed concern about the cost of implementation and that it would be well above government estimates.

Gove said: “The reaction to this consultation highlights the strength of feeling among the public that all animals should be treated with the utmost respect at all stages of life and be subject to the highest possible welfare standards.

“These strong measures also provide a further demonstration to consumers around the world that, as we leave the EU, we continue to produce our food to the very highest standards.

“Having carefully considered all of the responses, the government agrees with the overwhelming proportion of respondents that were in favour of mandatory CCTV to protect animal welfare in slaughterhouses. The proposals will also give the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) OVs unfettered access to the last 90 days of footage to help them monitor and enforce animal welfare standards.”

Heather Hancock, chairman of the Food Standards Agency, said: “The Secretary of State’s decision to require CCTV in all slaughterhouses is a welcome step towards ensuring that animal welfare and hygiene standards are met across the meat industry.

“Last year, the FSA Board concluded that, without mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses, we would see minimal further progress in businesses improving animal welfare or complying with official controls to protect public health. We look forward to working with the industry as CCTV plans are implemented, and to seeing public confidence rise as a result.”

Abattoirs that responded to the survey:

  • ABP UK
  • Alec Jarrett Ltd
  • Cranswick Country Foods
  • Dawn Meats
  • Dovecote Park Ltd
  • Dunbia
  • Euro Quality Lambs Ltd
  • Foyle Food Group
  • LE George Butchers
  • FA Gill Ltd
  • M Nijab & Sons
  • Tideford Abattoir
  • HP Westwood Ltd