Scottish government introduces mandatory inspections in salmon slaughterhouses
As a direct result of Animal Equality UK's work for fish, the Scottish government has started routine inspections in salmon abbatoirs.
The Animal, Plant and Health Agency (APHA) – a UK Government agency responsible for safeguarding the health of animals – said Scottish salmon firms slaughtering fish would be monitored from the 1 February 2022. For this first year, each major salmon company carrying out onshore processing will be inspected once.
The news was revealed to Animal Equality in response to a freedom of information (FoI) request it submitted to APHA.
In February 2021 Animal Equality released a video after an undercover investigation into an onshore fish abattoir operated by The Scottish Salmon Company. It showed fish having their gills cut while still conscious and being clubbed by workers and left to asphyxiate on the ground.
Following the investigation, Government sources said that they has begun inspected fish slaughterhouses but months later, nothing had happened. In response, Animal Equality sent an open letter to the government's Animal Welfare Committee — which advises the Scottish Government on welfare issues — 25 signatories called for “regular, frequent, and unannounced inspections” at fish slaughterhouses in Scotland, and across the rest of the UK. It also called for mandatory CCTV inside all fish slaughterhouses and for the footage to be made available for public scrutiny.
This step is a move in the right direction – and we expect the rest of the UK to follow suit – but in reality it doesn’t go nearly far enough. Fish must be given detailed and specific protections in law and CCTV must be mandated in abattoirs. It’s the very least we can offer these already vulnerable animals.Jenny Canham, Campaigns and Public Affairs Specialist, Animal Equality UK