Responding to reports of animals being mistreated at an abattoir in Yorkshire, Paul Bell, UNISON’s national officer for meat inspectors, official vets and their support staff said:
“Animal welfare is of huge concern to our members working for the Food Standards Agency. This is not the first investigation to reveal this type of abuse, and we know that it occurs in other slaughterhouses too – not just those responsible for halal meat. A UNISON survey of FSA members in 2013 revealed that almost 40 per cent had witnessed animals being mistreated.
“UNISON is repeating its call for the government to make it compulsory for CCTV cameras to be installed in all slaughterhouses, with the footage reviewed by an independent official vet or a meat hygiene inspector.
“With the demand for meat on the increase and production lines speeding up, there is an urgent need to put measures in place to stamp out this mistreatment.”
UNISON is also calling for more meat hygiene inspectors and vets to be employed, to allow CCTV footage to be reviewed and frequent monitoring at the point of slaughter.
The number of meat inspectors employed in the UK has fallen by nearly 50 per cent since the late 1990s.