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Mandatory CCTV in Abattoirs in Wales

An Important Step Forward For Animal Welfare

I completely understand how difficult it is to think about animals being killed but, for me, end of life care is a critical consideration.

Although the time at the slaughter plant represents a very small portion of their lives, it’s a crucial time that can have a significant welfare impact on the animals involved.

That’s why it’s such welcome news that, following England and Scotland’s example, CCTV is now to become mandatory in slaughterhouses in Wales too. This is a significant step forward in better protecting the lives of farm animals.

The new regulations - which will require CCTV to be installed in all areas where live animals are unloaded, kept, handled and stunned - will become law on 1 June 2024.

CCTV became compulsory for abattoirs in England in 2018.

When we think about good welfare for farmed animals it’s tempting to focus solely on the living conditions and care provided on the farm.

But what about how they’re treated at the end of their lives?

Cameras Improve Animal Welfare

The presence of these cameras is so important because the way animals are handled and treated can be monitored and recorded at all times, ensuring welfare standards are met.

It also acts as a training tool for staff - and provides reassurance to the public, 82% of whom supported the RSPCA’s call for mandatory CCTV in Wales’ abattoirs*.

The RSPCA campaigned tirelessly for these changes, pioneering the installation of CCTV in slaughter plants and leading the way.

CCTV in slaughterhouses for all terrestrial species (eg pigs, chickens, sheep) became a mandatory requirement of the RSPCA’s farm animal welfare standards - which have to be met by all RSPCA Assured members - back in 2011.

The legislation in place today is based on those requirements.

Driving Up Animal Welfare Standards

Of course, our work doesn’t end here and we’re always pushing for improvements to farm animal welfare throughout their lives, including at the time of slaughter

We’re also calling for an urgent end to both electrical waterbath stunning for poultry and slaughter without stunning.

In the future I’d love to see CCTV extended to other parts of farm animals’ lives, perhaps taking advantage of advancements in AI technology, to safeguard farm animal welfare even further.

*Polling figure from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,001 Welsh adults (aged 18+). Fieldwork was undertaken between 4th – 8th September 2014. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Welsh adults (aged 18+).

About the author

Dr Marc Cooper

Marc Cooper is Head of the RSPCA’s Farm Animals Department

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