World Horse Welfare has welcomed Defra’s announcement that CCTV will be made mandatory in all English slaughterhouses. In its response to the results of a consultation on the issue, the Government announced that from spring 2018, CCTV will be required in every slaughterhouse in England in all areas where live animals are present, and that Official Veterinarians (OVs) will have unrestricted access to footage which must be kept for 90 days. Slaughterhouses will have six months to implement the new requirements.
World Horse Welfare Chief Executive Roly Owers commented, “We applaud the Government for this welcome advance for equine welfare, as accountability and transparency are essential if the slaughterhouse is to remain an option for horse owners, most especially those who cannot afford the high price of euthanasia.”
World Horse Welfare has campaigned since 2013 for mandatory CCTV in all areas of a slaughterhouse, as recommended by the Farm Animal Welfare Council, and for the footage to be easily accessible by OVs. The charity believes that CCTV can aid the OV in monitoring welfare and also serve as an excellent training resource for slaughterhouses to help make all processes as welfare-friendly as possible.
“Without CCTV in all areas of the slaughterhouse where live animals are present, horses at abattoirs are greater risk of being ‘invisible’ and horse owners needed greater confidence in the process.”
Last year almost three quarters of over 900 horse owners the charity asked through a Facebook survey said they would not have confidence that horse welfare would be protected throughout the slaughter process. While more than 90% of those asked would not use a slaughterhouse to end their horse’s life, almost half of them would consider it an acceptable option if measures were in place such as CCTV which is constantly in operation and available to the relevant authorities for monitoring at any time.
The Government’s consultation response cited that: ‘World Horse Welfare noted that market pressure for CCTV was not present in horse slaughter but there was a need to increase confidence in horse owners that slaughter was a humane end of life choice.’
”We are especially grateful to everyone who has helped achieve this change, either by signing our petition, writing to your MP or sharing the campaign,” added Roly. “We have been delighted with the wide support we and other organisations have received on this issue, and we look forward to seeing the details of the proposals.”