The Government is committed to the highest standards of animal welfare when animals are slaughtered or killed and we have made CCTV mandatory in all slaughterhouses in England. Legislation sets out the main requirements to protect the welfare of animals when being slaughtered. In slaughterhouses, these requirements are monitored and enforced by Official Veterinarians of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to ensure that animals are spared avoidable pain, distress or suffering during the slaughter process. A service level agreement with the FSA is reviewed and agreed annually.
We have a zero-tolerance approach to animal welfare breaches and all FSA staff are instructed to take prompt and proportionate enforcement where breaches are identified, including those identified through live and retrospective CCTV viewing. The FSA has checks and monitoring systems in place to ensure the correct action is taken by Official Veterinarians and ensure the very highest standards are maintained.
Following a recent review of the legislation protecting the welfare of animals at the time of killing and as part of our Action Plan for Animal Welfare, we are carefully considering a wide range of welfare at slaughter improvements that could be made and will consult in due course.