To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the level and extent of maltreatment of animals in slaughterhouses; and whether she has plans to tackle such maltreatment.
Official veterinarians (OVs) from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) are present in all approved slaughterhouses in England and take a prompt, proportionate and risk based approach to enforcement action when animal welfare breaches are identified. The numbers of these cases identified by the FSA for the period from April 2014 to June 2016 were published on the FSA website in August 2016 following a Freedom of Information Act request. The FSA have developed an action plan in regards to animal welfare in slaughterhouses which aims to “Deter, Prevent, Detect, Enforce”. An Animal Welfare Steering Group was set up by the FSA to oversee the delivery of its animal welfare action plan.
Defra works closely with the FSA to ensure that the welfare of animals is maintained in all slaughterhouses. There is a wide ranging, systemic programme of animal welfare activity including strengthened verification of compliance through the establishment of welfare assurance teams; a welfare themed audit programme; targeted unannounced inspections; additional checks for non-compliant business operators; and improved education and instruction through an animal welfare publicity campaign in slaughterhouses.