Supermarket chain to put CCTV in all its abattoirs
Morrisons is to become the first supermarket in Britain to introduce CCTV cameras in all its abattoirs to ensure animal welfare rules are abided by.
The supermarket, the fourth largest chain in Britain, is in the unique position that it owns all three of its abattoirs, which process approximately 160,000 cattle, 900,000 lambs and 900,000 pigs every year.
CCTV cameras have already been installed in the abattoir in Spalding, East Anglia, while cameras will be installed at its plants in Clone, Lancashire and Turriff, Aberdeenshire by the end of December.
The cameras will be installed throughout the plants, including the holding pens, killing halls and processing areas. Footage will be kept for 30 days and will be made available to the Food Standards Agency during that time, a spokesman for Morrisons confirmed.
"The cameras will allow us to provide our consumers with complete assurance that our animals are handled to the highest welfare standards," said the spokesman.
The move comes as pressure mounts on the British meat industry to install CCTV in plants. Both the Food Standards Agency and the RSPCA have recommended that CCTV should be introduced on a voluntary basis by meat plants.
Their recommendations followed the release of footage secretly filmed by animal welfare pressure group Animal Aid that showed breaches of animal slaughter legislation in a number of abattoirs.
It remains to be seen whether other supermarkets will follow Morrisons' lead, but any such move could have implications for Irish factories. Meat Industry Ireland director Cormac Healy said animal welfare was something that everyone in the industry took seriously but added that Irish plants had good systems in place and were constantly supervised by the Department of Agriculture.