The Welsh Government has sparked rumours mandatory CCTV is on the cards for all slaughterhouses in the country.
Despite initial suggestion there was no sufficient basis to install the cameras in all of its 26 abattoirs back in 2016, the government has this week announced a new £1.1 million Food Business Investment scheme for small and medium sized slaughterhouses to cover ‘the installation and upgrading of CCTV monitoring systems’.
It will also offer improvements in animal welfare, business and technical matters.
Cabinet Secretary Lesley Griffiths said: “Safeguarding the health and welfare of farmed animals kept in Wales throughout their lives, up to and including the point of slaughter, is a high priority for me.
“I want to assist businesses to put systems in place while legislating for CCTV in slaughterhouses is taking place in England.
“I want Wales’ slaughterhouses to be fully prepared as I continue to explore opportunities to legislate in the longer term.”
Sarah Carr, president of the British Veterinary Association (BVA) Welsh branch, said the association was calling on the government to ‘move quickly’ towards legislating CCTV in all Welsh slaughterhouses.
It came as the group had been campaigning for mandatory cameras in areas where all live animals are kept, as well as full and unrestricted 24/7 access to CCTV footage for Official Veterinarians (OVs).
It follows a move to make all slaughterhouses in England implement CCTV under a legal obligation as of May this year.
Ms Carr said: “The announcement of grant aid for Welsh abattoirs is particularly welcome as it targets smaller local slaughterhouses and supports our view that food animals should be slaughtered as near to the point of production as possible.”
NFU Cymru also backed the announcement with suggestion the funding would help future-proof abattoirs to ensure their long term survival and avoid any further contraction in the sector.
Wyn Evans, chairman of the NFU Cymru livestock board, added: “We urge Welsh government to have detailed discussions with the operators to ensure this money is spent in the best possible way for the benefit of the red meat industry in Wales.”