England is investing in animal welfare in a big way by mandating that all slaughterhouses be outfitted with closed circuit TV (fancy talk for a surveillance system, cameras, and other recorders meant to monitor an organization or business). With this move and many others in the works, England is setting itself up to be the animal rights leader of the world. The path that they’re paving right now is incredibly important. Their work could change the fate of animals all over the world.

The plans will be unveiled to the public soon by environment secretary Michael Gove. What’s clear thus far is that official veterinarians will be given unlimited access to animal containment areas, ensuring that nothing stays hidden from them. It also means that they’ll be able to stop cruelty and wrongdoing much quicker, across the board.

British Veterinary Association president Gudrun Ravetz said to the Evening Standard: “Mandatory CCTV in all areas of slaughterhouses will provide an essential tool in fostering a culture of compassion that could help safeguard animal welfare and we are particularly pleased to see a commitment to official veterinarians having unrestricted access to footage, which BVA has been calling for.”

According to a report in the Guardian, the first animals in the industry to receive this surveillance will be chickens bred for meat, followed by egg laying hens. More animals will be included as they progress. Animal rights advocates are celebrating these well-earned, important victory. As they should.

Isobel Hutchinson, director of Animal Aid said to the Guardian: “After many years of campaigning for mandatory, independently monitored CCTV in slaughterhouses, we are greatly encouraged by this news. But although this development is a huge step forward, we urge the public to remember that even when the law is followed to the letter, slaughter is a brutal and pitiless business that can never be cruelty-free.”

England is proving that it is indeed possible to hold the animal agriculture industry accountable. Let’s hope the rest of the world takes note.

Lead image: Sas.sy/Flickr