The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) has said that, while it generally supports the move to make CCTV mandatory in Welsh slaughterhouses, the producers should not be made to bear the costs.

A recent Welsh government consultation on mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses, which closed on February 6, was “generally supported” by FUW members, the union said.

However, deputy head of policy at FUW Hazel Wright said that members were also clear “that the industry must not be forced into bearing the costs of a complex system that is overly bureaucratic, officious and rigid”.

“The current supply chain can function to adversely affect primary producers and producers can often become responsible for enduring any additional cost increases which have occurred further up the supply chain.”

The union also said that excessive costs risk adversely penalising smaller and medium-sized enterprises.

Such plants, it said, play a key role in terms of the industry as a whole and supply a range of crucial markets and services, including local domestic and niche markets, through butchers, delicatessens and other outlets.

Businesses like hotels and restaurants would be impacted too, the FUW said, as their success depends upon being able to source produce from small and medium production plants.

Animal welfare

The consultation of mandatory CCTV in Welsh slaughterhouses was launched November 14, 2022, and ran for twelve weeks on the Welsh government’s website.

The purpose of the inclusion of CCTV cameras in slaughterhouses is to monitor animal welfare standards.

The majority of slaughterhouses in Wales already have CCTV, and in England it has been a legal requirement since 2018.

It asked for opinions on the requirement for slaughterhouse operators to have CCTV in areas where live animals live; allow enforcement agencies to access footage; and to store the footage for 90 days.

Speaking on the launch of the consultation back in November, Minister for Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths said: “While the vast majority of slaughterhouses have CCTV in Wales, I want to ensure all animals have the same level of protection.

“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.”