The government has called for all Abattoirs in England to install CCTV as part of their efforts to monitor animal welfare.
Slaughterhouses found to be failing animal welfare standards could face a criminal investigation or lose staff license as the Food Standards Agency vets can ask to see footage of all areas where livestock are held.
Environmental Secretary, Michael Gove, said the proposals would make the UK “a global leader on animal welfare”.
This new rule will only apply to England for the moment as there are separate rules in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and additional EU regulations. However, The Welsh government are considering the mandatory CCTV rule.
Any Abattoir who is not compliant to this new rule will have their licence suspended or revoked, or a referral for a criminal investigation.
The first codes to be revised will cover chickens bred for meat, followed by laying hens, pigs, dogs, cats and horses over the course of the next year.
New codes were needed to reflect modernising medicines, technology, as well as the latest research and advice from vets, the government said.
Mr Gove said: “We have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world and the actions I am setting out today will reinforce our status as a global leader.
“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.”
FSA chairwoman Heather Hancock said the watchdog supported compulsory CCTV in abattoirs, since voluntary adoption by slaughterhouses had reached a “plateau”.
She said: “We look forward to the introduction of a comprehensive requirement for using, accessing and retaining footage from CCTV in abattoirs.
“We see CCTV as an invaluable management tool for business owners to help with compliance with official controls and to improve animal welfare standards across the industry.”
British Veterinary Association (BVA) president Gudrun Ravetz said the mandatory CCTV in all areas of slaughterhouses was “essential” to safeguarding animal welfare.
“We are particularly pleased to see a commitment to official veterinarians having unrestricted access to footage, which the BVA has been calling for,” he said.
“Vets’ independence and unique qualifications help ensure that the UK will continue to have the highest standards of animal health, welfare and food safety.”
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