Spain to put video cameras in slaughterhouses

Pigs together in a small area at a far, Spain to put video cameras in slaughterhouses
Pig farming, photo: Canva

Spanish slaughterhouses will have to install video cameras, the government announced Tuesday. “We will be the first country in the European Union to have a compulsory video surveillance system in abattoirs,” consumer affairs minister Alberto Garzon said.

The plan was approved at Tuesday’s cabinet meeting and will now be pushed rapidly through parliament. Large slaughterhouses will get a year to have cameras installed, and smaller ones get two years.

“This rule puts Spain at the forefront of Europe in this area and, as well as ensuring the welfare of animals during their passage through abattoirs, it also improves food safety guarantees for consumers,” Garzon said.

“In 2018, we condemned a slaughterhouse in Toledo for serious violations in animal welfare, food safety and hygiene deficits in the facilities,” farm animal welfare organization Equalia, who fought for the new ‘videos in slaughterhouses’ law, said.

“In the video we posted, you could see the lambs being beaten with sticks, thrown from side to side and kicked. All kinds of objects were thrown at them to force them to move,” Equalia said, adding that after two and a half years of campaigning, the law is finally approved. “We have achieved it!”

Guillermo Moreno, executive director of Equalia, told news agency AFP he was satisfied with “a necessary and important first step to raise animal welfare standards in abattoirs”. Slaughterhouses will be obliged to store the video footage so authorities can review them at a later moment. 

In 2018, the United Kingdom made camera surveillance mandatory in all slaughterhouses in England “to cement the UK’s position as a global leader in animal welfare standards.” 

But in 2021, animal welfare organization Animal Justice Project revealed the failing system of video cameras in slaughterhouses in the UK: animals were being abused in front of the cameras, but no action was being taken because no one watched the videos.

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