Mandatory CCTV in Welsh slaughterhouses to improve animal welfare

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Photo by BlackRiv from Pixabay

The Welsh government has unveiled a five-year plan to improve animal welfare across the country, but some animal welfare groups are warning it does not go far enough.

Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths this week released the Animal Welfare Plan for Wales in which the government commits to developing a nationwide model to improve, monitor and enforce standards for animal wellbeing.

The main objectives of the plan are to require that all slaughterhouses have video surveillance in order to avoid ill-treatment of animals and bad practices and standards.

In addition, commercial pet and hunting breeders, animal welfare establishments and animal shows will now all need to be registered, and the use of cages for farm animals will be restricted.

The initiative also presents plans to improve the professional level, status, training and qualifications of animal welfare inspectors.

In a statement Mr Griffiths said: ‘I am very proud of what has already been achieved in Wales in the area of ​​animal welfare. But there is more to do. Our long-term ambition is that every animal in Wales has a good quality of life. Today’s plan outlines the steps towards achieving this ambition.

“We will work with all partners to advance our commitments. This includes strengthening the protection of companion animals by reviewing the registration of animal welfare establishments, enhancing the highly regarded profession of animal welfare inspection through improved qualifications, and examining how we can minimize the use of cages for farm animals.

“I am also happy to confirm that we will be requiring all slaughterhouses in Wales to have CCTV – while the vast majority already do, we will ensure that is the case for all.

“Achieving a good quality of life for all animals is ambitious, but that’s what we need to aim for. “

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In response to the plan published in Plant Based News, animal welfare groups have welcomed the CCTV plans that they hope will help minimize animal abuse, but they report research that shows surveillance does not. not always reduce abuse.

As investigations by the charity Animal Aid have already revealed cases of animal cruelty in slaughterhouses with video surveillance already installed, the association urges that the images be monitored by an independent body.

In 2017, the charity published a report showing that illegal abuse was occurring in 93% of slaughterhouses in the UK.

In an interview at the time, Isobel Hutchinson of Animal Aid said: “This is really a very widespread problem, and in terms of what we have found it is not just technical violations and incompetence. , but a truly appalling deliberate violence. We have filmed animals being hit, kicked, deliberately given electric shocks, even cigarettes crushed on them ”,

Christianne Glossop, Chief Veterinarian for Wales, said: “Well-groomed animals are more often healthy and content animals. Preventing illnesses and injuries in the first place is always the best option.

“Having high animal welfare standards ensures that their needs are met, whether they are pets or livestock. “

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