On August 23, the Spanish Government approved Royal Decree 695/2022. This measure will make it mandatory for slaughterhouses to install video surveillance systems to monitor the treatment of animals and prevent non-compliance with current regulations. More than 700 slaughterhouses across Spain will now be required to have cameras inside their facilities.
The surveillance cameras must cover all areas where live animals are kept. This includes unloading areas, aisles and areas where animal stunning and bleeding is carried out.
All slaughterhouses, regardless of their size, must comply with the ruling. Large slaughterhouses will have one year to adapt their facilities. Small facilities will have two years.
This ruling is in response to the growing public concern about the treatment of animals in the meat industry. Though this measure is a step in the right direction, it also allows these facilities to be the authority that oversees their own operations. Slaughterhouse operators will be responsible for appointing someone to review the footage and make accurate reports. The facilities themselves are also the authority monitoring any necessary changes to their processes based on the footage.
The measure further stipulates that the records prepared by the slaughterers be kept for one year. But they are only required to keep the images for one month. After that time, they may delete the images, preventing them from being reviewed at a later date.
The video surveillance cameras in slaughterhouses will leave a record of the mistreatment and illegalities that occur there, forcing [the inspectors] to act in these situations. Only if the competent authorities and administrations check and audit this work will this measure be positive, otherwise it will only serve to whiten the image of the meat industry before the consumer.
-Alfonso Senovilla, Veterinarian
Animal Equality‘s Campaign for Slaughterhouse Cameras
Animal Equality in Spain has been urging for the installation of video surveillance cameras inside these facilities as part of its ‘Against Cruelty in Slaughterhouses’ campaign1, which calls for:
- The elimination of the exceptions that allow the slaughter of animals without stunning;
- The elimination of home slaughter;
- The elimination of the electrified bath as a measure to stun birds;
- The abolishing of carbon dioxide stunning of pigs;
- The ending of the export of live animals to countries without guarantees;
- The installation of cameras in slaughterhouses with independent supervision;
- And, stunning systems requirements for fish.
As opposed to Spain’s new ruling, Animal Equality’s campaign includes the oversight of surveillance footage by an outside, independent authority.
This ruling allows for a conflict of interest in which the slaughterhouse personnel themselves are both judge and juror in this matter. These workers are so desensitized to the animals’ suffering that some of the most violent scenes we have recorded took place when the slaughterer was fully aware that he was being recorded by us. If these situations occur even when they know they are being recorded, how can we expect them to change their behavior because of the presence of even less visible cameras?
-Jose Valle, Vice President for Animal Equality
Animal Equality Challenges Self-Regulated Slaughterhouses
This isn’t the first time Animal Equality has demanded independent oversight over slaughter facilities left to monitor themselves. In the United States, Animal Equality, along with six animal and environmental protection organizations, filed a lawsuit challenging a USDA ruling in 2020. The rule allows slaughterhouse employees to do their own inspections instead of inspectors of the Food Safety and Inspection Service2.
With footage by animal advocacy nonprofit, Animal Outlook, Animal Equality showed the abuse of pigs and chickens inside self-regulated slaughterhouses. These facilities increased production by killing animals even quicker. As these speeds increased, so did animal cruelty.
Animal Equality’s team has also exposed self-regulated facilities. In June 2022, investigators exposed three of these facilities in Brazil – all of which sell their meat with a seal of inspection3.
This investigation shows:
- Workers twisting cows’ tails to induce pain and make them move;
- Workers beating, kicking, and shocking the cows;
- Cows being dragged violently by ropes;
- Cows that are fully conscious are slaughtered after being ineffectively stunned
- And, cows being skinned and their legs cut while still alive.
Despite footage showing how these slaughterhouses operate, legislation aimed at reducing government oversight inside slaughterhouses was introduced by the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock. Animal Equality in Brazil has been challenging this “Self-Control” Bill initiative heavily since June. The pressure created by supporters and volunteers resulted in the vote of the initiative being postponed.
Animal Equality continues the fight against the efforts that give control to slaughterhouses in Brazil and the United States. In Spain, we will demand that the video surveillance footage is monitored and accessible to independent authorities.
How You Can Help End Cruelty To Farmed Animals
Over 23 million land animals, like cows, chickens and pigs, are killed in the U.S. every day – approximately 266 animals every second. As shown time and time again by our investigators, animals on factory farms endure cruelty and abuse just so the meat industry can maximize profits. You can denounce farmed animal cruelty by signing our End Factory Farming petition, so we can end the exploitation of animals used for food once and for all.
While we advance legally in the protection of animals, we cannot forget the role we play as consumers to put an end to farmed animal abuse. By reducing and eliminating the consumption of animal products in our food we are avoiding the mistreatment of animals. Leave their suffering off your plates and visit Love Veg to get inspired by cruelty-free recipes and animal-free products.