Activists working to protect kosher slaughter in the UK this week cautiously welcomed proposals to introduce CCTV in all abattoirs.

It follows an announcement from Environment Secretary Michael Gove that the new mandatory measures, now subject to consultation, would safeguard animal welfare and reassure customers.

Shechita UK director Shimon Cohen this week said it “cautiously welcomed” the news. “Of course we welcome measures to improve animal welfare in abattoirs,” he said.

“Shechita requires that animals must be unharmed at the time of slaughter and CCTV will be a useful tool to ensure that all regulations are complied with.”

Under the proposals, vets from the Food Standards Agency would have unrestricted access to footage of all areas containing livestock, a move Gove said would “cement the UK’s position as a global leader on animal welfare”.

FSA chair Heather Hancock welcomed the initiative, saying progress on voluntary adoption had “plateaued”. Any slaughterhouse found to be in breach of animal welfare laws could have their licences suspended or revoked, and be subject to criminal sanctions.