A major review has been released by DEFRA following the introduction of mandatory CCTV inside English slaughterhouses. The review aimed to conclude whether ‘The Mandatory Use of Closed Circuit Television in Slaughterhouses (England) Regulation 2018’ has been effective at improving animal welfare and if it has provided assurance that day-to-day operations inside abattoirs are to ‘high welfare standards’.
Simply put, the industry has given themselves a big green TICK and a pat on the back; they believe that the regulations have succeeded in improving welfare and protecting animals at their time of slaughter. But our investigations show the truth. They cannot hide in plain sight and the public will see through their deception.
The five-year post-implementation review has stated that CCTV is “encouraging behavioural changes” amongst slaughterhouse staff. In other words, workers are treating animals better due to its presence. This couldn’t be further from the truth; the industry is whitewashing the reality!
They are leading with a false narrative to create a smokescreen to hide the violent truth. Our most recent exposé at Woodhead Brothers in Spalding, shows workers viciously hitting and swearing at pigs, unloading lame animals, and channelling them into chambers where they will be gassed to death. This occurred in full view of the abattoir’s CCTV, yet the footage only came to light because of our release. CCTV never prevented any of this from happening, nor did it show “encouraging behavioural changes”. How bad was it before the presence of CCTV, if what the industry says is true?
In an industry publication, Pig World, it is referenced that CCTV has aided the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in three successful prosecutions, including fines of up to £19,500. But this was only after our investigation prompted the FSA to take action for this to be sentenced. CCTV never prevented the abuse from taking place, and the FSA did not act following a routine review of the footage. They acted because we undertook an investigation that exposed what is really happening behind the walls of slaughterhouses and showed their inability to monitor processing facilities regularly.
We have secretly filmed inside small, family-run abattoirs like Pastures Poultry, industrial-sized sites like Gressingham Foods, and large animal slaughterhouses like G. & G.B. Hewitt. All of which show time and time again that animals are being callously beaten or mishandled and legislation being broken. Furthermore, none of this would have come to light without our investigative work. It was never because of the implementation of CCTV.
The government concluded that mandatory CCTV benefits animal welfare and assures high welfare standards. They further state that it “provides an opportunity to highlight inappropriate behaviours”, but if this is their aim, wouldn’t the presence of Official Veterinarians and Animal Welfare Officers be enough? We have filmed the aiding or carrying out of abuse towards animals by multiple people with these job roles.
Claire Palmer, Animal Justice Project Director says: “Time and time again, animal cruelty and abuse is often uncovered by NGOs like Animal Justice Project, which forces the Food Standards Agency to watch slaughterhouse CCTV, however even then there is no guarantee action will be taken. We believe this is creating a culture of animal abuse amongst slaughterhouse staff, who know they can essentially do what they like to animals and get away with it.”
Just two years following the abysmal five-year post-implementation review of the Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing (WATOK) Regulations (England), the government and slaughter industry are yet again whitewashing the violent abuses that take place in slaughterhouses across the nation every single day.
Our work here at Animal Justice Project is as crucial as ever. Today, we implore you to join us in standing up against this injustice. Please consider making a donation to help fund our undercover investigations so that we can continue to expose the violent reality of the atrocities suffered by animals behind closed doors. Together we will make a difference!
For the animals.