France pilots cameras in abattoirs for animal welfare

Abattoirs that slaughter meat for public consumption can choose to apply to the new scheme to help improve welfare, compliance, and training

Abattoirs in France may soon be fitted with surveillance cameras as part of the government’s plans to fight against animal cruelty and malpractice.

A decree published in the Journal Officiel on April 28 set out procedures for setting up such a video control system, as an experimental, voluntary scheme that would initially run for two years.

The idea comes as part of the new food and agriculture law of November 1 2018, designed to address the general state of food and animal welfare conditions.

The voluntary cameras would be installed to collect data on practices of slaughter, and would take images stamped with the date and time of recording, focusing primarily on the slaughtering part of the process. They would not record sound.

Data collected would then be stored internally, allowing the abattoirs to self-monitor and ensure that they are compliant with slaughter laws and protocols, as well as animal welfare regulations and conditions required by veterinary services.

The images would be kept for one month, before being automatically deleted.

However, the abattoirs can choose to keep them for longer than that, and store them indefinitely, for training purposes for future staff (as long as the images do not identify staff on the recording).

Approved abattoirs will need to have agreement from all staff before they can participate. Any slaughterhouses that wish to be part of the two-year experiment now have just over eight months left to apply.

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