Do you know what’s happening behind the closed doors of Scotland’s abattoirs? Because we certainly don’t. However, we do know that there are some serious problems. That’s why we launched our CCTV Slaughterhouse campaign calling on the Scottish Government to introduce mandatory CCTV monitoring in all Scottish abattoirs, covering all key areas, that is accessible by independent experts.
This month, we’ll be handing our petition in to the Scottish Parliament. Before then, here’s five things you might not know about CCTV and slaughterhouses in Scotland.
- It’s not required by law
It’s true, Scottish abattoirs are under no requirement by law to have CCTV. I was in Aberdeen last weekend speaking to the public about our campaign. A lot the of people I spoke to assumed abattoirs already had CCTV present, and were visibly shocked when I told them that there are slaughterhouses without any CCTV. The Scottish Government and Food Standards Scotland currently recommends installation of CCTV as best practice, but it’s only on a voluntary basis. Last month, Environment Secretary Michael Gove announced plans to make CCTV mandatory in all slaughterhouses in England. We think it’s time that Scotland followed suit.
- There are serious breaches of animal abuse taking place
In April 2017, Food Standards Scotland released data which showed 706 breaches of animal welfare standards with 176 breaches taking place inside abattoirs between 1 May 2015 – 31 January 2017. Some of the most shocking incidents included a sheep being kicked by a slaughterhouse operator and a pig seen dragged by its tail by another worker. Hundreds of animals were also found injured, wounded or with broken bones, and one cow had to be stunned seven times due to incorrect positioning of the bolt gun.
- CCTV is the only way to catch illegal behaviour
Animal Aid has been campaigning to get CCTV in English abattoirs for many years. The charity secretly filmed inside thirteen UK slaughterhouses between 2009 and 2017, and captured horrifying incidents including animals being beaten, kicked, punched, burned with cigarettes, and some animals had their throats hacked at while they were still conscious. None of these illegal acts were prevented by on-site vets or slaughterhouse operators. If CCTV had been in operation, then these incidents would have been recorded.
- Some people think CCTV would violate slaughterhouse worker’s rights
This argument might have been stronger when CCTV was first launched, but these days CCTV can be found in a lot of work places. I’ve worked in places where it’s been present and at no point was anyone complaining about their rights being violated. In fact, most of the time it’s welcomed to protect workers and deter against the theft of money or equipment in the building. CCTV is also present in most public places and on public transport, so most us will find ourselves captured on at least one CCTV camera every single day.
- Just because an abattoir has CCTV, doesn’t mean it’s effective
It’s one thing to have CCTV in a slaughterhouse, and it’s another for it to be used effectively. There are abattoirs in Scotland that already have CCTV, but there are sizeable inconsistencies as to which part of the slaughterhouse is monitored. One of the main points of our campaign is that CCTV is present in all key areas including the stunning, bleeding, lairage and unloading areas. Unless it’s present in all areas, then it can’t work in the best interest of the animals.
Sign the petition now and support our calls for mandatory CCTV.