Monitoring Animal Welfare in the Food Processing Industry

We’ve already discussed in detail the challenges the food processing industry faces when it comes to compliance and safety. Constant changes to production practices and unregulated systems for proper training on food handling are just a few of the many difficulties that drive the necessity for stronger internal processes and diversified technology systems, such as video surveillance.

There’s one area that’s been making headlines lately as an additional factor contributing to the need for video cameras in food production facilities: animal welfare. Whether in transport, breeding or storage, the safety and treatment of animals in slaughterhouses, plants and farms has proved to be a concerning topic for quite a few years, drawing attention to operational lapses and insufficient oversight in these environments.

As videos have been released of contractors and workers severely abusing animals, such as the instances at a major food company in the U.S. and 12 U.K. slaughterhouses, the campaign has become stronger from activists around the world demanding independently monitored video cameras inside these facilities. The Say Yes to Slaughterhouse CCTV campaign began its work in 2009, advocating for the use of video to monitor animal cruelty and adherence to welfare laws.

And legal progress has been made: Environment Secretary Michael Gove unveiled plans in August 2017 that will require all slaughterhouses in England to be fitted with compulsory video surveillance technology. The government will also present a series of additional measures to bolster welfare standards and enforce the proper treatment of these animals.

The use of 360-degree surveillance technology is highly beneficial in these cases, as a comprehensive picture is required to ensure that no questionable action is taking place. The placement of surveillance cameras in slaughterhouses could be complicated, but replacing multiple traditional cameras with fewer 360-degree cameras guarantees comprehensive views of the facilities. This type of surveillance could also be implemented in animal transport vehicles, ensuring that the entire journey from loading to offloading is safe and free of inhumane mistreatment.

While video surveillance becomes the norm in these facilities, the challenge is finding the right technology for the job. The cameras themselves in abattoirs must be able to withstand stringent regulations and harsh conditions. Oncam’s Stainless Steel Camera is rated IP69K and IK10, ensuring maximum protection against high pressure chemical washes, temperature, dust and vandalism. Its NSF Certification and HCV EU mark make it compliant with standards for commercial food equipment in North America and Europe. Resilient, innovative surveillance cameras equipped with 360-degree video technology are crucial for ensuring proper animal care in the food processing industry.

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