The Meat (Official Controls Charges) (England) Regulations 2009 and similar regulations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, will change the system of charging for meat hygiene official controls in approved meat plants, including abattoirs, from 28 September 2009. Under the new charging arrangements abattoirs will be charged a percentage of the time costs of meat hygiene official controls carried out at their premises. The change will not increase charges for businesses if official control time remains unchanged and will provide an incentive for businesses to improve standards and compliance and to use official control resources as effectively as possible.
The Government will shortly be undertaking public consultation on proposals to amend the Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (England) Regulations 2008, which will include a proposal to require only slaughterhouses processing cattle requiring BSE testing to have an approved required method of operation (RMOP). As the age over which cattle must be tested for BSE was raised in January 2009, the effect would be that only abattoirs slaughtering cattle aged over 48 months, instead of the current 30 months, would require an approved RMOP. Similar consultation exercises will be held in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The European Commission published a proposal for a council regulation on the protection of animals at the time of killing, in September 2008. The proposed regulation will replace directive 93/119 on the protection of animals at the time of killing. The text of the proposed regulation has been under consideration since last autumn and political agreement was reached on a presidency compromise text at the Agriculture Council on 22 and 23 June.
Changes to the legislation regulating the welfare of animals in United Kingdom abattoirs will be required when the regulation applies in January 2013.