Green MEP for London, Jean Lambert, has joined the RSPCA and Compassion in World Farming in calling for the mandatory installation of CCTV cameras in abattoirs across the country, following the emergence of shocking footage revealing serious incidents of animal abuse.
Secret filming by leading animal rights organisation, Animal Aid, has uncovered systematic cruelty and brutality inside Britain's slaughterhouses. Images taken from just one Essex abattoir in April 2012 showed pigs being burnt with cigarettes, animals being punched in the face and seriously injured pigs forced to drag themselves to slaughter. Covert recordings from eight randomly chosen slaughterhouses tell a similar devestating story and reveal serious breaches of animal welfare laws.
Appalled by the findings of Animal Aid's investigation, Jean has written to the UK Agriculture and Food Minister, James Paice MP, to demand the installation of CCTV cameras in all UK slaughterhouses and for the footage to be made available to independent parties outside of the abattoir . Jean also believes that there should be better training and retraining for slaughterhouse employees, including casual staff.
Jean said: "The shocking scenes uncovered by Animal Aid prove the current abattoir legislation is not being properly implemented. Animal welfare is of the highest importance, and it is the responsibility of the industry and of Government to ensure that effective monitoring takes place and prosecutions are bought."
Notes to Editor
1. Jean's letter reads as follows:
I write to urge the UK Government to introduce legislation to make installation of CCTV in UK slaugterhouses mandatory.
You will be aware that secret footage obtained by Animal Aid at 9 slaugterhouses revealed an 89 per cent failure rate and quite shocking abuse, as detailed in Animal Aid's reports and footage.
The footage reveals systematic failure of the current system. Whilst FSA vets are required to be on the premises, they are not necessarily present at point of slaughter. Indeed, in 240 hours of film taken throughout entire days in nine slaughterhouses, Animal Aid reported only having seen one vet once, checking three dead animals. They never witnessed a vet near live animals.
The FSA, RSPCA, Compassion in World Farming and the Soil Association all support installation of CCTV in slaughterhouses, seeing it as an important tool to monitor practice and provide evidence of abuses as prosecutions.
Regarding the EU regulation EC 1099/2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing, I understand that the Commission has indicated that this does not preclude Member States from requiring abattoirs to install CCTV cameras.
Legislation is clearly needed to correct the systematic failure of the current regime and the apparently endemic unacceptable levels of animal welfare abuse. Mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses has a vital part to play in addressing these failures, and I urge the Government to bring forward relevant legislation.
There is also a need for CCTV footage to be made available to relevant independent parties outside the abattoir, including welfare representatives, and for better independent training and retraining for slaughterhouse employees.
I look forward to your reply.