CAWF meet with UNISON representing Official Veterinarians and Meat Hygiene Inspectors

CAWF meet with UNISON representing Official Veterinarians and Meat Hygiene Inspectors, April 2017

We had a meeting at the kind invitation of Paul Bell, the UNISON National officer representing hundreds of members working as Official Veterinarians and Meat Hygiene Inspectors in slaughterhouses on the 18th April. Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation supports the members on their stance for Meat Inspectors to remain independent and supports mandatory CCTV in all slaughterhouses and it’s monitoring.

More information can be read on the

Currently EU regulation requires slaughterhouses to be inspected by people who are not employed by the slaughterhouses; this ensures decisions over what meat to pass as safe to eat is made by an impartial person rather than someone whose employer stands to lose money from deeming meat unsafe to eat.

In the UK those people are meat hygiene inspectors, official veterinarians and their support staff. They’re employed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in England & Wales and Food Standards Scotland in Scotland with separate arrangements in Northern Ireland. The FSA also employs two contractors for some extra capacity work.

This regulation is up for renewal this year, and powerful corporations have been lobbying for MEPs to scrap it.

Meat inspectors play a vital role in public health

UNISON has members working as meat hygiene inspectors, official veterinarians, their support staff as well as contractors. They work in abattoirs inspecting meat and ensuring animal welfare.

Inspectors check the hygiene in abattoirs and cold stores. They:

  • inspect live animals, game or poultry for any signs of disease;

  • carry out post mortems on diseased animals;

  • check meat transportation conditions;

  • make sure unfit meat is destroyed properly;

  • recommend improvements and make sure they are carried out.

Meat inspectors work with lead veterinarians and official veterinarians to make sure meat hygiene meets industry standards. They are authorised to take immediate action when they find an abattoir or farm is breaking the rules, including issuing verbal and/or written advice, warnings or recommending prosecution.’

Please see the official letter of complaint from Paul Bell, of UNISON, formally writing on behalf of their members to demand a full investigation on animal cruelty at a slaughterhouse to the Chairman of the Food Standards Agency. Undercover reporting reported in the Daily Mail on 7th April shows horrific and distressing animal cruelty. UNISON letter on animal cruelty in slaughterhouse 2017

The letter states that members feel strongly that the FSA is not doing enough to prevent abuses. In a recent member survey, 22% of respondents have seen animals mistreated at premises where they work. These abuses range from hitting, kicking, inflicting pain, shouting, stunning to inappropriate areas, torturing and dragging.

The letter urges the FSA to do all it can to persuade Government of the urgency of monitoring of mandatory CCTV in all slaughterhouses.


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