The UK Government has made CCTV camera installation mandatory in all slaughterhouses in England, in order to further improve animal welfare standards.

The measure is expected to further strengthen the nation’s position as a global leader in animal welfare while reassuring consumers that high-welfare standards are being effectively enforced across the country.

According to the new governmental directives, CCTV footage will be accessible to the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) Official Veterinarians (OVs), who monitor and enforce animal welfare standards in slaughterhouses.

"These measures provide a further demonstration to consumers around the world that our food is produced to the very highest standards.”

FSA chairman Heather Hancock said: “The FSA takes a zero-tolerance approach to any breaches of animal welfare standards in slaughterhouses. Last year, we concluded that it was time to make CCTV compulsory in slaughterhouses, progress on voluntary adoption having plateaued.

“We look forward to the introduction of a comprehensive requirement for using, accessing and retaining footage from CCTV in abattoirs.

“We see CCTV as an invaluable management tool for business owners to help with compliance with official controls and to improve animal welfare standards across the industry.”

The government further explained that the new measures will raise the standards for farm animals and domestic pets by improving statutory animal welfare codes to reflect enhancements in medicine, technology and the latest research and advice from vets.

The codes will remain protected in law, and the first to be updated will cover chickens bred for meat.

UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “We have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world and the actions I am setting out today will reinforce our status as a global leader.

“As we prepare to leave the EU, these measures provide a further demonstration to consumers around the world that our food is produced to the very highest standards.”

The consultation on CCTV in slaughterhouses will run for six weeks, while the Code of Practice for the Welfare of Meat Chickens and Meat Breeding Chickens will run for eight weeks.