CCTV in French abattoirs ‘won’t halt malpractice’

By Liz Newmark

- Last updated on GMT

The controversial CCTV reform has broad support from French politicians
The controversial CCTV reform has broad support from French politicians
Putting video cameras in France’s 960 slaughterhouses will not stop malpractice, industry groups have argued, following a proposed law mandating video surveillance in slaughterhouses.

Protecting animals in slaughterhouses cannot be reduced to a question of cameras,​” said France’s meat industry organisation Culture Viande. It said in a statement that videos would only allow malpractice to be shown after the act, “as videos shown by anti-meat groups prove​”.

For Culture Viande, installing video cameras would only help anti-meat campaigners, “whose real aim is not animal wellbeing but stopping meat consumption​”. The group also questioned if video prevention worked, arguing, “who really takes notice of street cameras?​” Culture Viande further emphasised animal slaughter​ was one of the most controlled activities in France.

CCTV is expected to be installed in French abattoirs on 1 January 2018.

More than 6,000 abattoir workers own a certificate of competence for animal welfare, it said. Jean-Luc Mériaux, secretary general of the European Livestock and Meat Trading Union​ (UECBV), agreed. “Malpractice is very exceptional,​” he told GlobalMeatNews​. “There are permanent official controls in the slaughterhouses; otherwise, the plant is not allowed to produce.”

Mr Mériaux said EU slaughterhouses “take care of the animals because of the need to comply with the regulation [on slaughterhouses] and the impact of malpractice on the final product quality​”.

For him, “animal welfare is not a question of technology but of men and women, skill, training, common sense, good practice guides and science knowledge​”.

While installing videos​ would not cause a problem, with several slaughterhouses doing so, he said it would increase production costs.

Mériaux, like Culture Viande, argued that installing video cameras would “raise the issue of an individual’s fundamental freedom​”.

The controversial reform had been proposed by Parti Radical de Gauche (PRG – radical left party) deputy Olivier Falorni – who maintains it concerns animal protection not employee surveillance – and backed by 28 and opposed by four French deputies at the 12 January first reading assembly vote.

It will now be scrutinised by the French Senate (upper house of parliament) after legislative and senate elections in June and September, before returning to the Assembly for a second reading where, if adopted, it will become law.

If passed, authorities would install video cameras in all areas of the slaughterhouse​ after a trial period. But under its terms, only veterinarians and animal welfare inspectors would be able to see the images and footage could only be held for a month.

If agreed by an ethics committee created by the law, the recordings could also be used for training purposes.

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Abattoir mentality.

Posted by Elaine,

The fact that factory abattoirs have over the course of time removed the respect of animals and professionalism of the slaughtermen. The meat industry, slaughtermen in particular have always been associated with dark practices and immoral behaviour. Slaughtering was a trade, a profession, somehow over the years since 1980 onwards as the factory was emphasised rather than professionalism and trade that operated it....slaughtermen have been badly see the electric tongs placed incorrectly and endemically so, this is bad training, and pretty callous too. Tongs need to be placed in the correct position and for seven to ten seconds to result in a proper stun...not placed for a couple seconds across the animals face giving nothing more than a painful shock and no stun. No head restraints are used to apply the captive bolt, to procure a proper stun the captive bolt has to be placed correctly, this requires the animals head to be kept still, you cannot aim straight while the animal is swinging it's head around, again bad training and bad conduct of equipment. Speed has replaced accuracy....animals suffer because they are hurried through and dealt with by inefficient and badly trained workers. Slaughtermen were a respected profession, herdsmen knew their animals and with more one species abattoirs than ever before, then this should not be a problem.

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Issue of an Indivdual's Freedom

Posted by Chris,

So "Videos would raise an individual's fundamental freedom" - to do what? Continue animal abuse? Non! Monitoring must be submitted daily for scrutiny to a body not paid for by the slaughterhouses but to a government veterinary body. ANY animal abuse should be met with dismissal from the industry and prosecution.

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