Mandatory CCTV in Welsh slaughterhouses to improve animal welfare
The Welsh Government has unveiled a five-year plan to improve animal welfare across the country, but some animal protection groups warn it doesn’t go far enough.
Rural affairs minister Lesley Griffiths published the Animal Welfare Plan for Wales this week in which the government commits to developing a country-wide model to improve, monitor and enforce animal welfare standards.
Key aims of the plan include requiring all slaughterhouses to have CCTV in a bid to prevent mistreatment of animals and poor practice and standards.
Additionally, commercial breeders of pets and shooting stock, animal welfare establishments, and animal exhibits will all now require registration, and the use of cages for farmed animals will be restricted.
The initiative also sets out plans to improve the professional, status, training, and qualifications of animal welfare inspectors.
In a statement Mr Griffiths said: “I’m very proud of what has already been achieved in Wales in animal welfare. But there is more to do. Our long-term ambition is for every animal in Wales to have a good quality of life. Today’s plan outlines steps towards achieving that ambition.
“We will work with all partners to take forward our commitments. This includes further boosting protection for pets by looking at registration of animal welfare establishments, enhancing the much-valued animal welfare inspection profession through improved qualifications, and looking at how we can minimise the use of cages for farmed animals.
“I’m also pleased to confirm that we will be requiring all slaughterhouses in Wales to have CCTV – while the vast majority already do, we will ensure this is the case for all.
“Achieving a good quality of life for all animals is ambitious, but that is what we must aim for.”
Responding to the plan in Plant Based News, animal protection groups welcomed the plans for CCTV which they hope will help minimise mistreatment of animals, however they point to research which shows surveillance doesn’t always reduce abuse.
As investigations by animal rights charity Animal Aid have previously exposed instances of animal cruelty at slaughterhouses with CCTV already installed, the charity is urging that the footage should be monitored by an independent body.
In 2017, the charity released a report showing that illegal abuse was occurring in 93 percent of slaughterhouses in the UK.
In an interview at the time, Isobel Hutchinson of Animal Aid said: “It really is a very widespread problem, and in terms of what we found, it’s not just technical breaches and incompetence, but really appalling deliberate violence. We filmed animals being punched, kicked, deliberately being given electric shocks, even cigarettes being stubbed out on them,”
Wales’ Chief Veterinary Officer Christianne Glossop said: “Well cared for animals are more often healthy and contented animals. Preventing disease and injury in the first place is always the better option.
“Having high animal welfare standards ensures their needs are met, whether they are companion animals or farmed livestock.”