Last week, the French government passed a historic bill which will require cameras in slaughterhouses throughout the country. These cameras will be able to monitor the practices of the slaughterhouse, documenting instances of animal cruelty, safety and health violations.

This bill passed by an overwhelming 28 to 4 majority, and will be implemented experimentally in July 2017 in 263 slaughterhouses across France later being implemented in all French slaughterhouses come 2018.

An End to Animal Cruelty

beer, lamb, grass
Lauren Thiersch

Recently, animal rights activists have been pushing for not only cameras in slaughterhouses but efforts to end meat and dairy subsidies, but rather promote the production of sustainable agriculture. Animal rights groups such as L214 have gained a great influence in the French government as a result of recent undercover discoveries which exposed how often animal cruelty occurs in slaughterhouses.

L214 gained ground after releasing a video of animals in slaughterhouses being tormented, having their throats slit and experiencing other forms of harm while still alive. (Warning: video contains graphic content.)

France’s efforts to reduce animal cruelty in slaughterhouses draw attention an important issue. Not only are there many instances of animal cruelty but, there are serious health concerns for both the workers and the consumers.

"There is an issue in France when it comes to veterinary inspectors," explained L214 spokesman Arsac. "Their job isn't easy. They only stop the slaughter line as a last resort. This means that, unlike [matters of] hygiene, animal welfare is seen as optional."

It's Not Only a Problem in France

Two hens

Animal Freedom on Flickr

Though this is a pressing issue in France, the issue is just as prevalent in the United States. Slaughterhouses are one of the most unsafe industrial work environments, according to the United States Department of Labor.  

There have been reports of U.S. slaughterhouse workers being denied basic rights, such as using the bathroom (and forcing them to wear diapers). Not only are workers suffering, but animals are too. In many slaughterhouses, animals are beaten, branded and castrated often without any painkillers. This has been proven to be unnecessary abuse to the animals.

Installation of cameras in U.S. slaughterhouses would ensure that these horrific conditions would no longer occur.  So what can we do now?  Now I'm not saying to give up meat entirely (but no shame if you do).  Advocate for change, talk to your local government officials about legislation to install cameras in slaughterhouses, and join organizations like ASPCA to advocate for animal rights.