British slaughterhouses will be required to install CCTV under new rules introduced by the government intended to reduce animal abuse.
Announcing the new provisions, the Environment Secretary Michael Gove said that as of next spring all abattoirs where live animals are held will be monitored by cameras.
Footage will by accessible to official vets working for the Food Standards Agency, who will highlight cases in which animals have been poorly treated. Companies which do not comply or which are found guilty of mistreatment could lose their licence or face prosecution.
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Last year, footage obtained by The Independent showed the dirty and cramped conditions endured by hens on battery farms that supply major UK supermarkets. Animal rights group Animal Aid also secretly filmed abattoir staff kicking and stamping on animals and stubbing out cigarettes on pig’s faces.
The Independent says a number of major UK supermarkets already insist all their meat and dairy suppliers have CCTV installed, and 90% of slaughterhouses involved in the government’s months-long consolation also backed the move.
David Bowles, the RSPCA’s Head of Public Affairs, said: “This is a very welcome and crucial step towards introducing higher welfare right across the food chain”.
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