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RSPCA welcomes launch of CCTV in slaughterhouses consultation

RSPCA Cymru has welcomed the launch of a consultation supporting the introduction of mandatory CCTV in all slaughterhouses in Wales.

A consultation begins today [Monday, November 14] on proposals to require CCTV in all slaughterhouses in Wales.

This is a Programme for Government commitment and is included in the Animal Welfare Plan for Wales, which seeks to maintain and improve standards of welfare for all kept animals.

Minister for Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, said: “Animal welfare is a priority for the Welsh Government, and our ambition is for all farmed animals to have a good quality of life and to be free of suffering.  We have committed to ensuring all slaughterhouses in Wales have CCTV, and I’m pleased to announce the consultation today.

“While the vast majority of slaughterhouses have CCTV in Wales, I want to ensure all animals have the same level of protection.”

The consultation will run for 12 weeks and is available on the Welsh Government website.

The closing date for submissions of evidence is February 6, 2023.

Previously an investigation by the Welsh Parliament’s Petitions Committee highlighted how a majority of slaughterhouses in Wales do not currently have closed-circuit television systems in place. Committee members – backed by the RSPCA – called on the Welsh Government to make the “installation and maintenance of CCTV monitoring systems mandatory in all slaughterhouses in Wales”.

RSPCA Cymru has long called for CCTV to be mandatory in Wales’ abattoirs, and 82 per cent* of the public have backed the charity’s call for action in Wales. 

The Welsh Government has supported the use of CCTV in slaughterhouses, and previously announced £1.1 million of grant aid for small and medium size slaughterhouses to – among other things – support the “installation and upgrading of CCTV monitoring systems” – though it is not currently a mandatory requirement.

RSPCA’s head of public affairs David Bowles said: “This news today is very welcome. Recent statistics suggest a majority of abattoirs in Wales – some 58 per cent of them – do not currently have CCTV in place. 

“However, we know these systems provide people with vital reassurances about the quality of life of farm animals at the time of slaughter, act as a deterrent to animal cruelty, and can both protect staff and act as a vital training tool.

“By making CCTV compulsory in abattoirs they will help to protect and safeguard the welfare of animals at the time of slaughter right across the country.”

CCTV in slaughterhouses is already a mandatory requirement of the RSPCA farm animal welfare standards, which are used by the RSPCA Assured higher welfare certification scheme.