Flemish Minister for Animal Welfare Ben Weyts (N-VA), together with the Federation of Belgian Meat (FEBEV), has prepared a series of measures to improve animal welfare in slaughterhouses in the region, it was announced Monday in Belga.
These include increasing the number of surveillance cameras and enhancing the skills of the animal welfare officer. By the end of the year, all slaughterhouses will also have to be evaluated by an independent external partner.
A few weeks ago, images from the slaughterhouse in Tielt (West Flanders), where animal abuse had been detected, shocked the public.
The minister then ordered the site to be closed for two weeks and stipulated that it would only be allowed to reopen upon having implementated a series of measures.
Ben Weyts also wished to assess the sector. “The Tielt scandal must act as an incentive to improve animal welfare in all slaughterhouses.”
Various measures undetaken in collaboration with the Federation of Belgian Meat (FEBEV) are now ready and surveillance cameras will be systematically placed in strategic locations. In addition, the animal welfare officer in the slaughterhouse will have access to all the images. This regulator will also become a member of the slaughterhouse management team. The employer may not take disciplinary action against him in the event of denunciation.
More training, organised by an external and independent partner, will also be offered to slaughterers.
Finally, every Flemish slaughterhouse will have been inspected by the end of the year.
“I am pleased that the sector has learned the lessons from this case by improving animal welfare measures. The Tielt scandal tainted the reputation of the slaughterhouses, and it was in the sector’s interest to conduct a thorough review”, concluded Ben Weyts.