Shechita UK has said it is “very supportive” of new measures announced by the government which will see all slaughterhouses in England fitted with CCTV cameras.
Set out today by Michael Gove, Secretary for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the new compulsory cameras will monitor all areas where live animals are present, as well as all parts of the slaughter process.
“There was an original proposal by a number of members of Parliament, that there should be CCTV installed [solely] in abattoirs where religious slaughter takes place” a spokesman for Shechita UK said.
“We objected quite vociferously – the idea that there should be CCTV [only] in places where religious slaughter takes place is simply ridiculous, nonsensical – and the end result of that is a proposal by the government to have CCTV input to all abattoirs”.
The spokesperson also suggested it was “in the interest” of Shechita UK that such cameras be put in place, “because of our huge concern, of course, in Jewish law, for animal welfare.
“We don’t own abattoirs, and therefore, with our high level of standards that we require for animal welfare, it’s quite difficult to ‘police’ those standards
“Therefore CCTV would be helpful to us and we have been very supportive of that – we have no issue with it at all, because CCTV will help right across the industry to ensure that required standards are complied with. That’s important”.
The government’s proposal will now be opened up to outside groups for consultation, and the organisation indicated its hope to “ensure that the footage is stored – as the government is proposing – for it to be accessed by official authorised personnel only.
“We certainly wouldn’t want any part of the industry – whether it’s shechita or general – nobody would want such footage made available to the general public”, the spokesperson said.
“Because the general public will be able to draw wrong conclusions from it – just because something looks bad doesn’t mean it is bad.”