Animal welfare probe prompts call for CCTV in all Australian abattoirs

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 1st December 2011

Victoria’s meat safety regulator, PrimeSafe, has shut down a Victorian abattoir after it was shown video footage of inappropriate treatment of pigs. The case has prompted calls by animal welfare group Animals Australia for CCTV to be introduced to abattoirs in Australia.

Based on the footage it received, PrimeSafe has ordered the L. E. Giles & Sons abattoir, in Trafalgar, Victoria, to cease all operations pending an investigation.

In a statement published on its website on 29 November 2011, PrimeSafe said it was “appalled” by the treatment of animals shown in the video footage and that it will “vigorously pursue” the issue.

The PrimeSafe statement said, “Animal welfare is an integral part of an abattoir’s Quality Assurance program. On that basis, PrimeSafe is authorised to cancel the operating licence of any abattoir that does not satisfactorily meet animal welfare standards.”

All Victorian abattoirs are required to be licensed with PrimeSafe and to have a quality assurance program that complies with the Australian Standard for the Hygienic Production and Transportation of Meat and Meat Products for Human Consumption.

Call for CCTV in all Australian abattoirs

Animals Australia says Australia should fit all abattoirs with closed circuit television cameras. This currently  UK’s lead and

Animals Australia Executive Director, Glenys Oogjes said the Trafalgar abattoir case exposed a “severe flaw” in the regulatory system.

She said, “Pigs were being stabbed in the eyes and ears with stunning equipment in what seemed to be the regular method of stunning animals. One escaped pig was beaten to death with a sledgehammer despite a stunning device being nearby. Another was left unaided to bleed out after the throat cut for more than 5 minutes.”

“One of the problems is that unlike export abattoirs, domestic abattoirs don’t have an inspector or government officer on site most of the time. This lack of oversight leaves farm production animals incredibly vulnerable.”

Meanwhile, UK Government Ministers are currently considering making CCTV compulsory in slaughterhouses in England, Scotland and Wales to help enforce laws against animal cruelty.