The campaign – which has widespread political and public support – was launched by Animal Aid, after five-years of investigating animal welfare breaches inside British slaughterhouses. The national organisation has placed fly-on-the-wall cameras inside ten slaughterhouses and found nine were breaking animal welfare laws.
The footage revealed: slaughterhouse workers kicking, punching and beating animals in the head and face; picking them up by ears, legs and fleeces and throwing them; burning them with cigarettes; using the electrical stunning tongs to inflict painful electric shocks on the animals; and hacking away at the throats of fully conscious sheep. Failure to stun animals properly was also common and a serious breach of the law.
Mr Bellingham, who has served Norfolk since 1983, signed a parliamentary motion (an Early Day Motion) calling for mandatory CCTV to monitor working practices inside UK slaughterhouses and reiterated his support by agreeing to be photographed with Animal Aid’s campaign banner.
Says Henry Bellingham MP: ‘This is an excellent campaign – above all, if slaughterhouses have nothing to hide they should have no concerns about the installation of CCTV.’
Says Kate Fowler, Slaughter Consultant with Animal Aid: ‘There is no excuse for the savagery we filmed inside British slaughterhouses, and yet it went on right under the noses of the vets who are stationed there. Clearly, this system which costs taxpayers millions of pounds is failing to protect animals. We need a more robust regulatory system, and CCTV – if properly monitored – can play an important part in deterring and detecting welfare breaches. We are very grateful for the support of Mr Bellingham in helping us stop slaughterhouse abuse.’
In a 2014 YouGov poll commissioned by Animal Aid, 76 per cent of British adults support CCTV being made mandatory in all UK slaughterhouses (with independent monitoring of the footage).
Early Day Motion 153 has now been signed by almost 130 MPs: www.parliament.uk/edm/2015-16/153
North Norfolk MP, Norman Lamb and Norwich South MP, Clive Lewis have also signed the Early Day Motion.