There appears to be the usual hand-wringing over an announcement that the UK govt. is to abolish animal welfare codes in England.
Let’s be clear on this, these codes are just guidance. You can get away with the absolute bare minimum that slaughter and welfare legislation require codes or not.
In fact you can get away with far less than the legal minimum as we’ve seen on numerous occasions so what use are codes of practice?
As it’s obligatory for staff involved in slaughter and animal ‘husbandry’ to be aware of these codes it’s claimed that these can be used as a prosecutorial tool should the law be broken. Again as we see with depressing regularity extreme cruelty hardly even reaches a courtroom.
Support for codes or gentlemen’s agreements is at times used as a fudge by groups and individuals who are either too cowardly, too corrupt or usually both to support real changes in law. This position is notably deployed to avoid supporting the introduction of mandatory CCTV in abattoirs.
These will never be a substitute for solid legislation and proper enforcement. Let’s throw our weight behind fighting for that instead.