William and Pippa Funnell have handed over a petition to Defra — which has been signed by 43,737 people — to make CCTV compulsory in all slaughterhouses.
World Horse Welfare launched the campaign after horrific undercover footage emerged from the Red Lion abattoir in Cheshire this January. The film showed horses being hit with iron bars and groups of horses being crammed into pens before being stunned together — which is illegal in the UK.
“We believe that compulsory CCTV is a vital aid to help protect horses. While we believe there is a role for humane slaughter in Britain, inhumane slaughter has no place and is indeed illegal,” said World Horse Welfare chief executive Roly Owers.
“Defra cannot ignore the seriousness of this call for action or fail to recognise the importance of regaining public confidence in humane slaughter – or food safety.
“We have already seen what dire effect complacency has when it comes to regulation of the meat trade, causing extreme welfare issues – and consumer mistrust.
“We must take every precaution to consider the welfare of our animals to ensure that they are not subject to long and painful deaths and show that there is no room for complacency inside Britain’s slaughterhouses.”
Defra are reluctant to make slaughterhouses install cameras on the grounds that it is too expensive.
“World Horse Welfare does not accept this argument as CCTV systems can be purchased relatively inexpensively, and believes remote monitoring may have cost and other benefits,” Mr Owers added.