In the guidance document, published today (4 May), details on the obligations for slaughterhouse operators in England have been outlined.
Under the regulations, slaughterhouse operators must install and operate a CCTV system in all areas of the slaughterhouse where there are live animals. They are also required to keep CCTV images for 90 days from the date taken and make them available to inspectors to view, copy or seize.
Operators must install and operate the CCTV system and keep the footage and information by 5 November 2018.
Businesses with CCTV for reasons other than animal welfare, are also obliged to allow Official Veterinarians to inspect, copy or seize records if these cameras record an animal welfare incident.
Fines for non-compliance
The document details possible breaches of the regulations, including not providing clear images of the killing, failing to retain data for 90 days and preventing an inspector in the execution of their duties. Any operator found guilty of an offence may be required to pay a fine which can be unlimited.
The British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) has praised the idea of mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses.
“The BMPA supports the mandatory introduction of CCTV in all abattoirs. Our members have been using it for a number of years and BMPA and AIMS [Association of Independent Meat Suppliers] issued a joint statement in 2015 supporting its use as one of many tools available to help FBOs [food business operators] protect animal welfare.”
President of the British Veterinary Association, John Fishwick added: “Mandatory CCTV in all areas of slaughterhouses will provide an essential tool in fostering a culture of compassion that could help safeguard animal welfare. We commend the government’s commitment to provide OVs with unrestricted access to the footage, which the veterinary profession has long been campaigning for.”
CCTV system requirements
- Cameras must be placed to make sure there is a complete and clear view of all areas where there are live animals
- CCTV cameras should cover unloading, lairage, handling, restraining, stunning, bleeding and killing areas, with no blind spots
- System must provide a complete and clear image; picture resolution must be good enough so you can identify people in the pictures and recorded images
- CCTV system should produce as close to real time recordings as practically possible, with a recommended minimum 15 frames per second
- It must be capable of constant recording. It must be able to produce images and information for inspection or to be taken away by an inspector, without stopping the overall operation of the system