Legislation will be brought forward this year requiring abattoirs to record on CCTV all areas where live animals are present.
This is intended to ensure the highest standards of animal welfare in abattoirs, by helping those responsible for enforcing welfare legislation. The proposal was backed by the vast majority of respondents to a recent consultation carried out by the SNP Government.
Announcing the news ahead of a Parliamentary Statement on Animal Welfare, Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment Mairi Gougeon MSP said:
“More than eight out of ten slaughterhouses in Scotland have already installed CCTV coverage in their premises voluntarily, and over 95% of all animals slaughtered in Scotland are covered by some form of CCTV. However, the standards of that coverage can differ from location to location.
“This government is committed to ensuring the highest standards of welfare for all animals and we are pleased that so many respondents to our consultation backed our proposals to make this compulsory. It was important also to consider the financial implications of such a move for industry, and whether other options might be available to improve animal welfare.
“Following a positive response to the consultation, I’m delighted to announce that I will introduce legislation to the Scottish Parliament in 2019, which will help to improve further the already high standards being followed by the livestock sector in Scotland.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“I welcome these proposals, designed to protect animal welfare.
“What I would point out is that those abattoirs yet to install CCTV, should not all automatically be assumed to fall short of animal welfare standards. Amongst them will be some smaller businesses, which do take animal welfare very seriously and are often local to farmers, meaning that the animals suffer less distress in transport.
“Small abattoirs, in particular those who don’t operate every day, may have found it a struggle to afford putting a system up and for such businesses, some assistance should be provided to help them comply with the new legislation once implemented.”