The RSPCA says it is pleased by the announcement on 10 August by Environment Secretary Michael Gove citing proposals to make CCTV mandatory in all slaughterhouses in England.

The announcement comes following years of campaigning by the RSPCA, the country’s biggest and oldest animal welfare organisation.

Dr Marc Cooper, head of farm animals at the RSPCA, said: “The call for CCTV to be made mandatory in all England’s approved slaughterhouses has been one of the RSPCA’s longest running campaigns, so we wholeheartedly welcome the Environment Secretary’s announcement today.

“All farm animals deserve to be treated with compassion and respect throughout their lives, and this includes at the time of killing.

“Many actions and initiatives aimed at improving farm animal welfare tend to focus on the period when the animals are being reared. Welfare considerations, however, at the ‘end of life’– when the duration of suffering may be short but the severity of suffering can be very substantial – are just as important.

“A key benefit of installing CCTV is improved monitoring and enforcement, leading to a reduction in malpractice and an improvement in animal welfare. CCTV can also be used to demonstrate compliance with standards, a management tool for training and monitoring slaughterhouse staff, and to evidence good practice should allegations be made to the contrary.”

The proposals mean that Official Vets, who are present at abattoirs, will now have unrestricted access to footage, enabling them to better monitor and enforce animal welfare.

A consultation will follow and the RSPCA will be calling for the following:

  • cameras to be placed in all areas of the abattoir where key handling, stunning and slaughter/killing operations are being undertaken
  • footage to be kept for a period of at least three months
  • footage to be made available for independent monitoring to ensure effective enforcement is taking place.