Mandatory video surveillance in slaughterhouses in Spain

by Lorraine Williamson

Spain will be the first country in the European Union to work with mandatory video surveillance in slaughterhouses. The Spanish Council of Ministers this week approved the Royal Decree to prevent malpractices and ensure animal welfare legislation. 

Video images will soon record the unloading, housing and handling of animals in the slaughterhouse. Consumer Affairs Minister Garzón emphasises that this monitoring system will provide additional protection for animal welfare, minimise suffering and better guarantee food safety for consumers. 

Spain had to take action after terrible images in slaughterhouses 

Spain has been in the news several times in recent years because of the horrific images of practices in Spanish slaughterhouses. Here and there, regional authorities tried to put in place additional controls, but these practices required a national approach. 

Mandatory video surveillance was discussed for the first time at the end of 2020. After many talks with the sector and other ministries, an agreement has been reached a year and a half later. Moreover, this has now led to new legislation that will apply to all slaughterhouses, including mobile slaughterhouses, throughout Spain. 

ASSSA - health insurance in Spain

Also read: Animals waiting to be slaughtered

Where should the cameras be placed? 

Surveillance cameras are placed where the live animals are unloaded after transport, where they are kept and where the animals are stunned and where they die. The cameras are not required in the transport areas where they have to wait before being unloaded. However, extra checks apply here for the transport companies to monitor the animals in the vehicle. 

Slaughterhouse operators are required by law to keep the images from the surveillance cameras because they can be checked afterwards by official bodies designated by the autonomous regional authorities. 

Law officially in force in Spain in one year 

As mentioned, the Royal Decree was approved by the Spanish Council of Ministers last Tuesday. The decree was published in the Official Gazette on Wednesday 24 August. From this date, large slaughterhouses have one year to adapt to the new regulations; small slaughterhouses are given two years to do this. 

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