WALES, UK - Vets have expressed their disappointment at a report instructed by the Welsh Government that recommends CCTV should not be mandatory in slaughterhouses in Wales.
The Safeguarding Animal Welfare at Slaughter Task and Finish Group’s report, which outlines the findings of the Group’s investigation into the welfare of animals in slaughterhouses and the potential role of CCTV, concluded that there was not a “sufficient basis” for making CCTV in Welsh abattoirs mandatory.
The report, "The Need for and Possible Implementation of a Workable System of CCTV in All Slaughterhouses in Wales", details that only eight large abattoirs of the total 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 3.4 per cent of poultry are slaughtered without CCTV safeguards, accounting for over 2 million birds, and 10.5 per cent of sheep, pigs and cattle are slaughtered in abattoirs without CCTV – nearly 385,000 animals.
The potential risk of welfare harm to these animals is increased by this lack of CCTV.
However, the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the Veterinary Public Health Association (VPHA) – who represent the Official Veterinarians (OVs) who oversee animal welfare in slaughterhouses – believe mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses and vets’ unrestricted access to CCTV footage are vital in order to safeguard animal welfare, assist with enforcement and instil customer confidence.
Dr 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.
"We also need to ensure that where CCTV is installed, vets can have access to the footage. If there isn’t CCTV footage, or vets cannot access the footage, how can the number of reported incidents in abattoirs be verified?"ThePoultrySite News Desk