CCTV to be made mandatory in Scottish abattoirs

New legislation is to be brought forward to make CCTV mandatory in all areas of Scottish abattoirs where live animals are present.

In a statement made to the Scottish Parliament, Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon announced plans to introduce legislation later this year after the majority of respondents to a recent Scottish Government consultation backed the new measures.

It comes a year after England brought legislation into force 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.

Gougeon said: “More than eight out of 10 slaughterhouses in Scotland have already installed CCTV coverage in their premises voluntarily, and over 95% of all animals slaughtered in Scotland are covered by some form of CCTV. However, the standards of that coverage can differ from location to location.

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.”

‘A huge win for welfare’

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) was among those welcoming the announcement.

BVA Scottish branch president, Melissa Donald said: “This is a huge win for animal health and welfare.

“While it is positive that eight out of 10 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 the 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.”