SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan has pledged his support at Westminster this week to a campaign by Animal Aid calling for mandatory closed circuit television (CCTV) in all UK slaughterhouses.
The campaign – which has widespread political and public support – was launched by Animal Aid after five years of investigating animal welfare breaches inside slaughterhouses. The organisation placed fly-on-the-wall cameras inside ten slaughterhouses and found nine were breaking animal welfare laws. The footage revealed: slaughterhouse workers kicking, punching and beating animals in the head and face; picking them up by ears, legs and fleeces and throwing them; burning them with cigarettes; using the electrical stunning tongs to inflict painful electric shocks on the animals; and hacking away at the throats of fully conscious sheep. Failure to stun animals properly was also common and a serious breach of the law.
Mr Durkan, who has also co-sponsored a parliamentary motion at Westminster (signed by 129 MPs) calling for mandatory CCTV inside slaughterhouses, said: “I am deeply concerned that nine of the ten randomly chosen slaughterhouses secretly filmed by Animal Aid have breached animal welfare laws.
“The introduction of compulsory CCTV in slaughterhouses would increase animal protection and allow those caught on film breaking the law to be prosecuted.
“I am therefore calling on the government to bring forward legislative proposals for the mandatory installation of CCTV in slaughterhouses with independent monitoring of the footage.”
Kate Fowler, Slaughter Consultant with Animal Aid, said: “There is no excuse for the savagery we filmed inside UK slaughterhouses, and yet it went on right under the noses of the vets who are stationed there. Clearly, this system which costs taxpayers millions of pounds is failing to protect animals. We need a more robust regulatory system, and CCTV – if properly monitored – can play an important part in deterring and detecting welfare breaches. We are very grateful for the support of Mark Durkan in helping us stop slaughterhouse abuse.”