Mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouse petition backed by over 40,000 members of public is handed to Defra
World Horse Welfare believes that the introduction and monitoring of CCTV at all slaughterhouses licenced to take horses in the UK would assist the FSA (Food Standards Agency) in their duty of enforcement so that cruelty like what happened inside a UK abattoir this year can be prevented from happening again.
The popular petition was signed by the likes of BBC Formula One presenter, Lee Mckenzie; British Olympic equestrian sportswoman, Mary King and three-day eventing elite, Pippa Funnell and her show jumping husband, William.
The celebrated equestrians William and Pippa Funnell MBE handed the petition over to Defra at the end of November.
The strongly backed campaign was launched by the charity after it was asked by Sky News to review undercover footage filmed by Hillside Animal Sanctuary at the Red Lion abattoir in Cheshire. World Horse Welfare was appalled at the catalogue of breaches of laws meant to protect horses at slaughter - horses being beaten, dispatched in view of other horses, and other inhumane treatment.
World Horse Welfare called for suspension of all activities at the abattoir until new systems ensuring humane treatment were put in place. The abattoir was subsequently ordered to close temporarily, not on welfare grounds, but because the FSA said that the establishment did not meet all the infrastructure requirements which permit the safe production of meat. The Red Lion is still not taking horses but intends to reopen soon after refurbishment.
Chief Executive of World Horse Welfare, Roly Owers says:
“The public and horse owners need to have confidence that equine slaughter is carried out humanely in Britain.
“World Horse Welfare believes that compulsory CCTV is a vital aid to help protect horses and while we believe there is a role for humane slaughter in Britain, inhumane slaughter has no place and is indeed illegal.
“We hope to make a strong impact on Defra with the number of signatures that we have collected from our compassionate supporters.
“Defra cannot ignore the seriousness of this call for action or fail to recognise the importance of regaining public confidence in humane slaughter – or food safety.
“We have already seen what dire effect complacency has when it comes to regulation of the meat trade, causing extreme welfare issues – and consumer mistrust. We must take every precaution to consider the welfare of our animals to ensure that they are not subject to long and painful deaths and show that there is no room for complacency inside Britain’s slaughterhouses.”
The charity will continue to press the case for CCTV with Defra who are reluctant to compel slaughterhouses to install the cameras on cost grounds. World Horse Welfare does not accept this argument as CCTV systems can be purchased relatively inexpensively, and believes remote monitoring may have cost and other benefits.
[Below image shows our Public Affairs Officer, Hannah Lynch proud to hand in the many signatures from dedicated supporters]
“We hope the public will continue to show their support for change in 2014,” says Roly.
Why CCTV? – World Horse Welfare put forward the following arguments in favour of CCTV in a formal response to Defra.
• Can be installed into spaces where an inspector cannot safely be present - such as in the ‘stun box'.
• Will always be present, unlike inspectors.
• Cannot be intimidated, unlike an inspector.
• Produce a permanent record, allowing both good and bad practice to be identified and used in training for slaughterhouse employees.
• Will help counter any malicious accusations against the proprietors or employees of licenced premises and permit proprietors to demonstrate that they treat horses humanely.
• Can be viewed securely from any location, offering more flexibility for the FSA and could even save money if they replace some on-site monitors.
• Will help improve public confidence that animals will be slaughtered humanely.
•Will allow the British public to feel confident that British meat, which has a reputation as a high welfare product, is the result of humane slaughter procedures.