Slaughterhouses in England are set to introduce mandatory CCTV to preserve animal welfare.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove said that by implementing the proposals, the UK would position itself as a “global leader on animal welfare”.
This follows recent footage which showed some of the cruel conditions livestock – chickens, in particular – are subjected to.
Under the proposals, veterinarians from the Food Standards Agency will have unrestricted access to footage of all areas containing livestock.
Slaughterhouses found to be in breach can incur a welfare enforcement notice as well as the suspension – or annulment – of staff licences. It could also mean a referral for criminal investigation.
The proposals form a two-pronged approach to animal welfare. To complement the CCTV, the Government said it will also update statuary animal welfare codes. It said this will better reflect advancements in medicines, technology as well as the latest advice from vets.
Chickens bred for meat will be the first to be updated, following by laying hens and then pigs over the coming year.
As we prepare to leave the EU, these measures provide a further demonstration to consumers around the world that our food is produced to the very highest standards,” said Mr Gove.