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Environment Secretary Michael Gove has today unveiled plans to install compulsory CCTV in English slaughterhouses.
The plans are part of a move to improve animal welfare standards and enforce laws against animal cruelty, and will be phased in next year.
Proposals to install the cameras were part of the Conservative manifesto, which pledged to record footage in all areas of abattoirs where live animals are present – before making the footage available for vets.
According to Gove: “We have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world and the actions I am setting out today will reinforce our status as a global leader.
“As we prepare to leave the EU, these measures provide a further demonstration to consumers around the world that our food is produced to the very highest standards.”
As part of the proposals, statutory animal welfare codes covering companion and farm animals will be updated to reflect research and advice from vets, as well as medical and technological advances.
Animal charities have long called for CCTV to be installed in slaughterhouses. Undercover footage in the facilities often shows abuse and violence towards the animals – over and above them being killed.
Isobel Hutchinson, director of Animal Aid said: “After many years of campaigning for mandatory, independently monitored CCTV in slaughterhouses, we are greatly encouraged by this news.
“But although this development is a huge step forward, we urge the public to remember that even when the law is followed to the letter, slaughter is a brutal and pitiless business that can never be cruelty-free.”