The Greens NSW have a bill before the Legislative Council to introduce mandatory CCTV in abattoirs.
The Food Amendment (Recording of Abattoir Operations) Act will require the owner of an abattoir or knackery to make video and audio recordings of the movement, holding and slaughter of animals to ensure the humane handling of the animals before and during the slaughter process.
1.) Download our petition, get your friends and family to sign it and send it back to us.
Web petitions are a great tool, but if we want the petition to be tabled in parliament it needs to be in this format. People power will show the Government that the people of NSW care about animal welfare.
2.) Email, call or write a letter to the Minister of Primary Industries, Niall Blair MLC and the Shadow Minister, Mick Veitch, telling them why you support CCTV in abattoirs
The Hon. Niall Blair, MLC
GPO Box 5341
SYDNEY NSW 2000
02 8574 7190
Contact the Minister here:
The Hon. Mick Veitch, MLC
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9230 2714
Some points you might want to make in your emails.
- The Greens NSW have a bill to require mandatory CCTV in abattoirs
- The Food Amendment (Recording of Abattoir Operations) Act will require the owner of an abattoir or knackery to make video and audio recordings of the movement, holding and slaughter of animals to ensure the humane handling of the animals before and during the slaughter process.
- There is an animal welfare crisis in NSW abattoirs. The NSW Food Authority has found that all 10 red meat slaughterhouses have breached animal welfare standards at some point.
- Current standards alone are not sufficient to curb acts of cruelty, and hold perpetrators accountable; there needs to be a strong and robust enforcement mechanism
- The best approach to ensuring better detection and accountability of such cruelty is to make CCTV mandatory for all abattoirs, knackeries and slaughterhouses
- Even though some abattoirs have elected to install CCTV, many still have not, and this leaves hundreds of thousands of animals vulnerable to abuse. Moreover, the footage is not routinely monitored by independent parties.
- The NSW Food Authority claims that nine out of ten NSW domestic red meat abattoirs now have CCTV monitoring. This proves that the industry has the ability to introduce widespread CCTV. What remains to be done is making CCTV mandatory, and ensuring that the footage is monitored.
- The Greens NSW bill will give confidence to industry and consumers that NSW abattoirs are upholding minimum standards for animal welfare.
There have been a number of exposés of horrific animal cruelty taking place at abattoirs and slaughterhouses in Australia and overseas. There has been widespread coverage of the brutal treatment of Australian animals in Indonesian slaughterhouses. In November 2011, the Victorian authorities closed down an abattoir in Gippsland after Animals Australia provided footage of animal welfare breaches inside the facility. In February 2013 Animals Australia once again exposed cruelty at a dairy abattoir in northern Victoria.
Here in NSW, in February 2012, secretly recorded footage given to Animal Liberation revealed extreme acts of cruelty at the Hawkesbury Valley Meat Processors, who are currently being prosecuted. The footage shows sheep skinned alive, pigs beaten while fully conscious and cattle jabbed repeatedly with electric prods.
In response to the Hawkesbury Valley exposé, the NSW Food Authority conducted a review of all domestic slaughterhouses in NSW and, while the review has not been made public, it has been reported that welfare breaches were uncovered in all 10 red meat slaughterhouse including “incompetency of slaughtering staff” and ineffective stunning — meaning some animals may have been fully conscious at slaughter. The Government’s announced package to address these problems has improved training and auditing but still largely relies on self-regulation.
Video surveillance is not a mandatory safeguard to protect animal welfare at all NSW abattoirs and the public remains concerned that while compliance may improve in the presence of auditors, for the majority of the time when the auditors are not present, cruelty can still occur behind closed doors.
Hawkesbury Valley Meat Processors have themselves recognised this and since elected to install CCTV to try to restore confidence in their business. Responding to public concern, the meat processing company Teys Australia have also installed CCTV cameras at their abattoirs across Australia as a voluntary measure.
It should not take brave whistleblowers placing their employment and personal safety at risk to bring animal cruelty to light with covert under-cover cameras. Mandatory video surveillance at all abattoirs and knackeries, monitored by the NSW Food Authority, is required to give the general public greater confidence that animal welfare laws and standards are being complied with at all times.
The NSW Food Authority claims that nine out of ten NSW domestic red meat abattoirs now have CCTV monitoring. This proves that the industry has the ability to introduce widespread CCTV. What remains to be done is making CCTV mandatory, and ensuring that the footage is monitored.
The Bill seeks to amend the Food Act 2003 through the introduction of a new division 3 into Part 4 which would:
- Require the proprietor of an abattoir or knackery to ensure that a video and audio recording is made of all operations relating to the movement, handling and slaughter of animals at the abattoir or knackery, including, but not limited to:
- unloading animals from vehicles into the lairage
- movement of animals from lairage to the stun point,
- stunning of animals.
- shackling of animals
- sticking of carcass of animals.
- Require that the equipment used for recordings has an unobstructed view
- Require that the recordings are kept for at least 3 months.
- Sets 50 penalty units or 6 months imprisonment, or 250 penalty units for a corporation, as the penalty for failing to comply with the above.
- Enable the Director General to publish guidelines relating to the making of the recordings and equipment to be used and number of devices.
- Provides that the making of audio recordings does not breach Section 7 of the Surveillance Devices Act 2007 because it is specified that only the audio recordings of animal vocalisations will be admissible as evidence and not private conversations.
- Provides that visual footage and animal vocalisations recorded can be admissible in evidence for prosecution of an offence under the Food Act or any other law (this would include the NSW Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act).
- Requires the Minister to ensure that the recordings are inspected on a regular basis and not less than once in every 6 month period.
- Provides that inspections must be carried out by an authorised officer and that this officer must not be employed by the abattoir or knackery and that inspections may be done at random or targeted.
- Requires the Minister to provide an annual report to parliament on inspections of the recordings that are undertaken at each facility each year and any instances of non-compliance.
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