Food Standards Agency (FSA) chair Heather Hancock has said the case for mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses has been made.
She told Radio 4 Farming Today: “Mandatory CCTV is not as hard as it used to be and it is definitely not as expensive. I think we are moving a step or two closer to mandatory CCTV.”
Animal welfare groups have been pushing for change in this area for a number of years but have so far been unsuccessful.
A February 2015 report by Defra’s Farm Animal Welfare Committee acknowledged the benefits of having CCTV in slaughterhouses, but stopped short of saying it should be compulsory – estimating the cost of installing equipment and monitoring footage to be around £3,000 - £10,000 per abattoir.
It noted CCTV does not prevent welfare failures by itself, and said it should not ‘replace, reduce or be considered a substitute’ for physical inspections.
Though Ms Hancock acknowledged Defra ministers would have to make the decision on CCTV in slaughterhouses, she said it was an ‘obvious management tool’ which should be adopted.
“This is just the kind of oversight, control and assurance that we want to make sure everything is being done in the right way”, she added.