CCTV will be made compulsory in all animal slaughterhouses under new government plans announced today.
Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, said that, from next spring, all abattoirs where live animals are present will be forced to install cameras in an attempt to clamp down on mistreatment.
The footage from the cameras will be accessible to official vets working for the Food Standards Agency, who will highlight cases in which animals have been poorly treated. Those responsible could then lose their license or face prosecution.
Slaughterhouses will have to give vets unrestricted access to the last 90 days of footage.
It follows a number of disturbing videos appearing online showing slaughterhouse staff abusing animals. Last year, footage obtained by The Independent showed the dirty and cramped conditions endured by hens on battery farms that supply major UK supermarkets.
Other videos, including a number filmed secretly by animals rights group Animal Aid, showed abattoir staff punching, kicking …