Laws to keep animals free from cruelty

The Constituency View with Henry Smith MP SUS-170126-103725001
The Constituency View with Henry Smith MP SUS-170126-103725001

As Crawley MP for the last seven years I have consistently called for stronger laws against those who cause animals pain and inflict suffering needlessly; one particular campaign I have championed was to urge the Government to stop abuse of animals through the introduction of CCTV in slaughterhouses.

I am delighted that earlier this month, the Environment Secretary confirmed that animal protection standards are to be enhanced in law through the mandatory introduction of CCTV in slaughterhouses across England.

I was pleased to lead this campaign in Parliament and welcomed this pledge being included in 2017’s Conservative Party manifesto, now to become law. Such standards of animal protection are important and these enhanced methods should provide greater confidence in the treatment of livestock.

These measures will deliver the manifesto commitment for CCTV to be required in every slaughterhouse in England in all areas where live animals are present, with unrestricted access to footage for the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) Official Veterinarians to reassure consumers that high welfare standards are being enforced effectively.

The FSA has strict processes in place for the approval of slaughterhouses, and for vets to carry out checks to ensure the welfare of animals is protected throughout their time in the slaughterhouse. If breaches are found, a slaughterhouse can be given a welfare enforcement notice, have its staff’s licences suspended or revoked, or be referred for a criminal investigation.

The Government has also confirmed it will raise standards for farm animals and domestic pets by modernising statutory animal welfare codes to reflect enhancements in medicines, technology and the latest research and advice from vets. These codes are to remain enshrined in law and the first to be updated will cover chickens bred for meat.