It is worth noting at the outset that animal welfare is the responsibility of the Scottish Parliament. The SNP Scottish Government are committed to working towards having the highest animal welfare standards possible.
CCTV is an important initiative that will contribute to animal welfare across all the nations of the UK. The SNP Scottish Government, along with the Food Standards Agency (FSA), already recommend the installation of CCTV as best practice in the monitoring of the welfare of animals at the time of killing. At present, the FSA estimates that 95% of animals slaughtered in Scotland are killed in plants where CCTV has already been installed voluntarily. Figures from the FSA show that 64% of slaughterhouses in Scotland already have CCTV in the lairage and unloading area, 59% in the stunning area, and 57% in the killing area. When compared to the equivalent figures across the rest of the UK, it is clear that Scotland’s slaughterhouses are already well ahead of their English and Welsh counterparts in the voluntary uptake of CCTV. No slaughterhouses in Scotland are licensed to kill horses.
I am pleased that my SNP colleague Paul Monaghan MP helped secure this important debate in Parliament, and I hope that the UK Government listened carefully to the suggestions on improving standards in this area.