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Government Responds to World Horse Welfare’s Petition for Mandatory CCTV in the UK’s Equine Slaughterhouses
Thanks to overwhelming support for our petition to the UK Government causing for mandatory CCTV in equine slaughterhouses, we have reached a total of almost 10,500 signatures and have today received the Government’s response to the petition.
“The Government encourages the highest standards of animal welfare at all slaughterhouses including equine. The Government is currently reviewing the requirement for mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses.
“There are strict rules that govern the slaughter of equines and the Government will take robust enforcement action against breaches of the rules protecting animal welfare at slaughter.
“Official Veterinarians (OVs) of the Food Standards Agency monitor and enforce the welfare regulations in all approved slaughterhouses to ensure that animals are spared avoidable pain, distress or suffering during the slaughter process. OVs have the power to seize CCTV records if a breach is suspected.
“The Farm Animal Welfare Committee (FAWC) published, in February 2015, an independent assessment of the use of CCTV in slaughterhouses. This concluded that CCTV can offer real benefits but that it cannot replace the need for businesses to have proper monitoring procedures in place. FAWC recommended that, in order to realise the benefits to animal welfare and to business operators set out in its report, all slaughterhouses should install CCTV in all areas where live animals are kept and where animals are stunned and killed.
“The vast majority (approximately 99%) of equines going to slaughter are slaughtered in slaughterhouses that have CCTV installed in some, if not all, areas where live animals are present. There are five slaughterhouses that slaughter equines, and three have CCTV and two do not have CCTV. The Government is currently reviewing the requirement for mandatory CCTV in all slaughterhouses.”
World Horse Welfare Chief Executive, Roly Owers, said:
“We are pleased that the Government has reaffirmed the importance of ensuring the highest standards of equine welfare in slaughterhouses together with their clear commitment to take robust action against any breaches of the rules.
“It is also very encouraging that the Government has further confirmed that the introduction of mandatory CCTV in all slaughterhouses is still in consideration. We know that CCTV is not the total answer in protecting welfare at slaughter but it is a hugely valuable and cost-effective tool that can do so much to improve the confidence of horse owners in the system.
“Thank you to everyone who has supported our CCTV campaign to date, through signing this petition and writing to their local MPs ahead of the Westminster Hall debate in late 2016. We will continue to push the Government for change to help ensure that any horse whose life is ended at a UK slaughterhouse will have their welfare safeguarded.”
Find out more about our CCTV campaign