11 August, 2017 - 12:47

... vets can’t be present around the clock and it’s obvious that this appalling cruelty isn’t going to occur when animal health professionals are present. Alison Johnstone MSP

A Green MSP has slammed the Scottish Government’s commitment to animal welfare after the UK government introduced an abattoir policy rejected by Holyrood ministers in June.

It was announced today that slaughterhouses in England will have to install CCTV and allow Food Standards Agency vets to see footage of all areas where livestock are held. Rural Economy minister Fergus Ewing dismissed introducing CCTV in all slaughterhouses after being questioned by Alison Johnstone MSP.

Johnstone wants cameras to be installed in abattoirs because of figures from Food Standards Scotland showing that in a period of just over a year and a half there were over 700 breaches of animal welfare standards, with animals showing signs of injury and distress.

The Lothian MSP, also says that consumers of Scotland’s “high quality produce” will be unlikely to back businesses where animals have not been treated with “care and respect”.

Alison Johnstone MSP said:

“According to an investigation, a third of the animal welfare incidents in slaughterhouses were caused by poor conditions during transport to abattoirs. Many animals have suffered broken bones, bruising and other injuries as a result. If this government wants to repair its reputation on animal welfare, it will legislate for CCTV to be installed in all slaughterhouses and mobile abattoirs to improve the welfare conditions of Scotland’s farm animals.  It’s essential that the cameras are situated at sites of stunning and killing, and not only in packing areas, for example. 

“Considering that tail docking is likely to get the go ahead in Scotland, the Scottish Government must urgently act to show that it does care about the welfare of animals. Data released under freedom of information by Food Standards Scotland lists 706 breaches of animal welfare regulations at Scotland’s 35 abattoirs between 1 May 2015 and 31 January 2017, many involving multiple animals. More than a third of the incidents were rated as ‘critical non-compliances’, meaning they had caused ‘avoidable pain, distress or suffering’.”

“Fergus Ewing misrepresented questioning on this matter earlier this year, saying that CCTV shouldn’t replace veterinary inspection.  I couldn’t agree more, but vets can’t be present around the clock and it’s obvious that this appalling cruelty isn’t going to occur when animal health professionals are present.”

“Scotland prides itself on high quality produce and consumers would not wish to support businesses where animals have not been treated with care and respect. The Scottish Government is now giving the impression that it doesn't see animal welfare as a priority and that it's content that welfare standards in England are better than here.”

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