Call for slaughterhouse CCTV
Meat plants in Britain are coming under increasing pressure to install CCTV cameras in slaughterhouses to prevent animal welfare abuses.
The Food Standards Association (FSA) has called for the voluntary introduction of CCTV as a tool to help protect animal welfare.
The move comes after undercover filming taken by animal rights group Animal Aid identified breaches of animal welfare at slaughter legislation.
FSA director of operations Andrew Rhodes said the Animal Aid footage showed clear breaches of the animal slaughter regulations which would have resulted in animal suffering, for example insufficient stunning and significant delays in sticking after stunning.
It also showed technical breaches that did not result in immediate animal suffering, such as the lack of a head restraint and delays in stunning.
Mr Rhodes said the footage showed some procedures that were not breaches of the regulations but would not be considered best practice, such as stunned and bled pigs falling off the line and being dragged back into the stunning pen.
He added that some of the practices that Animal Aid considered undesirable were not covered by legislation or best practice, such as the use of a wheelbarrow to take a casualty sheep into the stunning pen.
Following the release of the footage, the FSA suspended a number of slaughter plant workers and formally investigated the breaches. Improved training of slaughterhouse operators was also recommended.