RSPCA accused of needlessly slaughtering sheep.

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RSPCA accused of needlessly slaughtering sheep.

Post  Admin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 8:26 pm

The RSPCA has been accused of needlessly slaughtering more than 40 sheep at a Kent dockside and using a photograph of the dead animals to further its campaign against live animal exports.
Inspectors from the charity killed the sheep after declaring that they could not be transported across the Channel from Ramsgate because they were judged to be lame and therefore unfit to travel.

The incident has caused outrage among animal welfare experts, who say there was no need to put down the 43 sheep.

Questions are also being asked about the manner in which the RSPCA inspectors carried out the killings, with photographic evidence suggesting they botched the operation.

Photographs of the incident were subsequently used by the charity as part of its campaign against the export of live animals. A graphic image was released on its website, with the charity claiming it laid bare the cruelty of the trade.

The controversial incident took place on September 12 last year, when RSPCA inspectors working alongside vets from the government’s Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) declared that a lorry preparing to leave the docks with 500 sheep was unfit to travel due to faults with the vehicle.

At the same time they noticed that one of the sheep had a broken leg and another was injured. Both animals were put down.

The RSPCA inspectors agreed with the Government vets that all of the sheep had to be unloaded. However, since there were no suitable facilities for keeping the animals on the dockside, a temporary pen had to be constructed.

Frank Langrish – a local spokesman for the National Farmers Union (NFU), who has investigated the incident – told the Daily Mail: “There were no reasonable facilities for unloading animals at the port, so they decided to build a temporary pen between two buildings.

“It was a big mistake, because at the back of the pen there was a large storm drain.”

Six of the sheep fell into the storm drain and although four were saved by the RSPCA inspectors, two of them died.

David McDowell, a former RSPCA acting chief veterinary adviser, said: “Unless you have a proper pen to put them in, unloading a large number of sheep somewhere like that is a terrible thing to do.”

Worse was to come. Although all the sheep had been pronounced fit and healthy by a vet before boarding the lorry in Northamptonshire, another 41 were now considered by the RSPCA and AHVLA officials to be showing signs of lameness.

It was decided all the lame sheep had to be put down, as they were deemed unfit to travel.

This decision has angered several experts. David Smith, a Kent based vet and former RSPCA adviser, said: “I’ve been in the business for 39 years and there is no reason to put down 43 sheep because they are lame.

"Lameness and foot infections are very common in sheep and easy to treat. It’s a minor infection.”

Phil Stocker, chief executive of the National Sheep Association, which represents sheep farmers, said: “There is now way those 43 sheep needed to be put down.”

Over the next hour the RSPCA inspectors, using a bolt gun, despatched the animals one by one.

But the large amount of blood evident in the pictures released the next day by the charity had raised questions over the effectiveness of the slaughter.

Mr Langrish said: “Anyone who knows anything about humane killing devices knows that if you use them properly then you don’t get any blood. They make a single piercing straight through the brain and the animal dies.”

John Onderwater, the Dutch exporter whose firm, Barco de Vapor, had been hired to carry the sheep across the Channel, said: “How on earth was it possible that the pile of sheep, which the RSPCA displayed so proudly on its website, was covered with blood? And how did they get the blood to spray a metre and a half up a wall.”

The day after the killings Thanet District Council suspended live animal transport from Ramsgate port, the only British port still being used for shipping animals abroad for further fattening and slaughter.

In further controversy senior figures at the RSPCA have been summoned to see the charity watchdog to defend their decision to spend £326,000 on prosecuting David Cameron’s local hunt, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.

The RSPCA was reported to the Charity Commission by MPs and peers last month for controversially funding the successful prosecution against the Heythrop Hunt. Mr Cameron is a local MP in the area where the Heythrop hunts.

It has now emerged that the charity’s senior executives have been called in by William Shawcross, the Commission’s chairman, for “an early meeting” to discuss its “prosecutions in general and the case in particular”.

The hunt and its members were fined £6,800 after admitting four charges of unlawfully hunting a wild fox with dogs last month.

But District Judge Tim Pattinson drew attention to the fact that the cost of the private prosecution was nearly ten times more than the defence costs of £35,000.

The revelations come after figures last week showed that the RSPCA rehoused 10,000 fewer animals in 2011 than it did in 2009 and that it now kills 44 per cent of the animals it rescues – totalling 53,000 a year.

Of that number 3,400 are destroyed for non-medical reasons, such as lack of space in charity catteries.

The RSPCA said the killing of the 43 sheep was carried out by officers “trained in the humane euthanasia of animals”.

It insists the sheep had to be unloaded because the lorry on which they were travelling was unsuitable, and that it had warned the Ramsgate port authorities that facilities were substandard.

A RSPCA spokesman said: "Animal Health, as the agent of DEFRA, was the relevant statutory body in control of these events at the port. RSPCA inspectors were present at the explicit request of the Port Authority to ensure that animal welfare laws were fully implemented.

"The decisions on the day were being taken by Animal Health, as the competent authority recognised in law, and not by RSPCA inspectors."

A report into the incident has been compiled by officials at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and is currently with David Heath, the Farming Minister. It is set to be released within the next few weeks.


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Look up RSPCA botched killings

Post  millie1* on Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:47 pm

I believe the RSPCA did much the same in a German Shepherd rescue centre?? Could be wrong but I'm sure you can all google RSPCA and German Shepherd to find the real story.

Agree that sheep often lame - usually just need a trim and foot spray and they are fine. What on earth possesed them to unload all those sheep at the docks - couldnt they find a nearby field they could use (they dont seem to have any trouble in finding spaces for 'cases' that they are going to prosecute! Also ARE they going to prosecute the owner/haulier for failing to protect from pain and suffering etc???? If so they have destroyed the evidence and will get an Abuse of Process argument thrown at them since the owners vet must be given opportunity to inspect and test for lameness - if they are dead how can you see if they were lame! (and one sheep looks just like another to me so a video wont help!)


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Re: RSPCA accused of needlessly slaughtering sheep.

Post  Admin on Mon Feb 04, 2013 5:56 pm

They have done the same in the past with Greyhounds as they did with the GSD.
They were killed with a captive bolt.

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Re: RSPCA accused of needlessly slaughtering sheep.

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