The measure was voted in by a majority of 28 to 4, with some opponents predicting that “small slaughterhouses will disappear”.
The legislation has to be approved by the Senate in February. If it is given the green light, there will be a trial period before being fully rolled out on 1 January 2018.
As part of the proposed legislation, cameras will be installed in all places of transport, accommodation, immobilisation, stunning and slaughter of animals.
The measure was put forward to the Assembly following released footage of cruel behaviour towards animals in abattoirs.
Dominique Langlois, president of INTERBEV, the French livestock and meat association, praised the opportunity to strengthen the dialogue on slaughter and to limit the risk of acts of animal abuse.
“This bill goes in the right direction of collaborative and constructive work between all actors concerned with animal welfare,” he said. “These measures also demonstrate a real awareness where reason prevails.”
INTERBEV also welcomed the decision to create a national ethics committee in which slaughterhouses, veterinarians and experts would work together.
Emma Slawinski, director of campaigns at Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), welcomed the decision. “It is fantastic to see France taking positive steps to help improve animal welfare in slaughterhouses, but it is vital that work continues to ensure mandatory CCTV is adopted by the Senate.
“A huge congratulations to our colleagues at CIWF France for their hard work and determination which has helped to achieve this result.
“I hope this will be the catalyst for the UK and other European governments to introduce compulsory CCTV in abattoirs, preventing the suffering we have seen exposed in recent investigations.”