The day when slaughterhouses will be compelled to fit CCTV cameras has moved a step closer this week, as Martin Caton became the hundredth MP to have signed an parliamentary motion in support of the move. Early Day Motion 177 was tabled by Grahame Morris MP and now has the support of MPs from across the political spectrum, including eight Northern Ireland MPs: Jeffrey Donaldson, Mark Durkan, Lady Hermon, Naomi Long, William McCrea, Alasdair McDonnell, Margaret Ritchie and Sammy Wilson.
EDM 177 states: ‘That this House calls on the Government to bring forward legislative proposals for the mandatory installation of closed circuit television (CCTV) in UK slaughterhouses; notes that a 2014 YouGov poll found that, of those who expressed a view, 87% support mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses; expresses concern that eight of the nine slaughterhouses secretly filmed by Animal Aid have breached the law, a failure rate of 89%; believes that the introduction of compulsory CCTV in UK slaughterhouses will increase animal protection and allow those caught on film breaking the law to be prosecuted; furthermore thanks the supermarkets for already insisting on CCTV in their slaughterhouse suppliers and welcomes the support of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) for the use of CCTV in slaughterhouses as a useful monitoring tool; further notes that plant operators who operate CCTV are keen to demonstrate to FSA officials the high standard to which their operatives work; and further believes other UK slaughterhouses should follow this best practice to maintain the UK’s position as a world leader on animal welfare standards.’
Animal Aid’s call for mandatory CCTV is widely supported. It has the backing of the union representing meat hygiene inspectors and slaughterhouse vets, UNISON, vets including Emma Milne and animal protection groups such as the RSPCA and Compassion in World Farming.
The campaign stems from Animal Aid’s undercover investigations inside nine UK slaughterhouses, which found welfare laws being broken in all but one. In March 2012, two men were jailed for beating and burning pigs with cigarettes as a result of Animal Aid’s footage. Other breaches filmed included: animals being kicked, slapped, stamped on, and picked up by fleeces and ears and thrown into stunning pens; animals being improperly stunned and coming round again, or suffering painful and sadistic electrocution instead of being stunned.
Already, ten leading UK supermarkets insist that their slaughterhouse suppliers have CCTV installed.
A June 2014 YouGov poll found that 76% support mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses. That figure rose to 87% when taking into account only those who expressed a view.
A Number 10 Petition has attracted more than 38,000 signatures to date. It can be found here.
Said Kate Fowler, head of campaigns at Animal Aid: “There is no excuse for the savagery we filmed inside slaughterhouses, and yet it went on right under the noses of vets stationed there to monitor welfare. Clearly, we need a more robust regulatory system, and CCTV can play an important part in deterring and detecting welfare breaches. We are very grateful for the support of these compassionate MPs, who can see that action must be taken to hold the industry properly to account.”