Scottish Government have launched a consultation on compulsory CCTV in abattoirs. The consultation opened yesterday (28 March 2018) and will run until 20 June 2018, collecting views from stakeholders to refine Government policy.
Cruelty Watch supports the proposals to introduce CCTV in abattoirs covering all areas where live animals are kept, as well as full and unrestricted 24/7 access to CCTV footage for Official Veterinarians. Similar legislation will come into effect in May 2018 across England.
Cruelty Watch particularly welcomes this move to introduce CCTV following an investigative report in 2017 that highlighted that thousands of farm animals have suffered in more than 700 serious breaches of welfare rules in Scotland in less than two years.
Cattle, sheep, pigs and chickens have been found injured, emaciated, diseased or dead on arrival at abattoirs.
Numerous animals were slaughtered while heavily pregnant or had to be repeatedly stunned before they were killed.
There was “cannibalism” among chickens, “unnecessary pain” endured by cattle and “massive bruising” on sheep, according to inspection reports by government watchdog Food Standards Scotland (FSS) obtained by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. In other cases there were “signs of suffering”, “evident stress” and “extensive maggot infestation”.
One slaughterhouse worker was said to have been “intimidating and vicious” with a sheep. A driver was seen kicking a pig and another dragging a pig by its tail.
A spokesperson for Cruelty Watch said: “Many abattoirs in Scotland already have CCTV, although there are no rules governing how the footage is used or kept. We would also want to see unrestricted access to CCTV footage for Official Veterinarians (OVs).
This consultation is vital to ensuring that animal welfare laws are upheld and enforced. It would allow Official Veterinarians to independently assess and report breaches of animal welfare. In due course, Cruelty Watch will submit a response to the Scottish Government. We look forward to seeing the outcome of the consultation later this year.”
*The investigative report can be found here.