I no longer eat meat, but I've been pro-active in Animal Aid's campaign to get supermarkets to agree to buy their meat only from slaughterhouses with CCTV camera installed. I've done this by sending postcards to supermarkets (available from Animal Aid) which request they do this.
I know some of my friends also did this after I emailed them (shame on you if you haven't though - it only takes 5 minutes of minimal effort), and it's great to see that the power of the masses is paying off - five British supermarkets have now agreed to only buy their meat from CCTV monitored slaughterhouses!
Morrisons and M&S were on board first, followed by Co-op, and now Sainsbury's and Waitrose! Supermarkets have a huge power in food production, and you have a lot of persuasion as a customer. This means that some of the horrendous cruellty in abbatoirs - either by incompetence or deliberate sadistic intention - can be minimised.
Animal Aid started the campaign after covert filming in randomly selected slaughterhouses exposed the extreme and terrible abuse that goes on in them. One particular slaughterhouse - A&G Barber in Purleigh, Essex - was especially gruesome, with the worker there being deliberately sadistic to pigs and causing woeful suffering.
The film on Animal Aid's website shows scenes including use of electric tongs on pigs’ snouts, tails and in their open mouths (to send a terrific and agonising shock into the jaw for no other reason than torment). One worker and the slaughterhouse operator face prosecution, and – since losing its contract with a German meat producer as a direct consequence of the investigation – A&G Barber has been forced to close.
It just goes to show that such action - including the CCTV-in-slaughterhouses campaign - really DOES make a difference. Humane slaughter is a myth, but I know many people want to eat meat yet don't want their meat to have come from an environment where deliberate and criminal cruelty is present.
It's really easy to be part of this campaign - email Animal Aid for a set of postcards (subject heading 'Supermarket CCTV cameras') to send to the remaining supermarkets they'd like to come on board (you guessed it, Asda and Tesco!). More details here: Stop this cruelty and law-breaking
Supermarkets listen to their customers!
(The Nov 2010 report on the campaign to that date can be read here).