Legislation will be brought forward by the Scottish Government to make CCTV mandatory in all areas of abattoirs where live animals are present.
The legislation will be introduced this year. The vast majority of respondents to a recent Scottish Government consultation backed the new measures.
England brought legislation into force in 2018 making CCTV compulsory in all abattoirs. CCTV is not yet mandatory in Welsh abattoirs, although the Welsh Assembly has introduced a funding package to help smaller sites with installation costs.
The news has been welcomed by the British Veterinary Association (BVA).
Melissa Donald, BVA Scottish Branch President, said:
“This is a huge win for animal health and welfare. While it is positive that eight out of ten Scottish abattoirs already have CCTV, introducing legislation ensures consistency across the board and will help to keep welfare standards high at all stages of the supply chain. Official Veterinarians in Scottish abattoirs will be able to use CCTV as a complement to their welfare monitoring and also have unrestricted access to footage so that they can identify and resolve any breaches in regulation effectively.
“This new legislation will help to reassure consumers that Scottish meat is slaughtered to the highest standards and keep confidence high at a crucial time. Now that Scotland has taken this important step, we hope that governments in Wales and Northern Ireland will follow suit and explore the merits of future legislation for animal welfare, public health, food safety and future trade.”
Mairi Gougeon, Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment in the Scottish Government said:
“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.”
The news was also welcomed by the Scottish Greens.
Mark Ruskell MSP, Scottish Greens food and farming spokesperson said:
“The Scottish Government is finally listening to the Greens and other advocates of animal welfare, and I welcome the many positive proposals in the Minister’s statement and hope that it marks a new phase for this Government. It shows that Green pressure works.
“However, a number of key areas were missing from the minister’s statement including dealing with live exports and welfare concerns related to farm animal transport, which a TV documentary brought to greater public attention last year. Consumers of Scottish produce need assurances that animals are treated with care and respect, and Greens will keep up the pressure on this issue.”
You can view the whole statement here: