From farm animals to useful failures
Several points about current farming practices were made in a recent letter (14 April), that I, among others, find seriously wanting.
To state that farmed animals during transportation can have the benefit of seeing the passing scenery is not only doubtful, as those crammed deep within the truck might not see anything except their fellow travellers, but surely, in the circumstances, completely irrelevant.
A companion animal, whom we must on some occasions take to the vet and might suffer some stress, is nevertheless benefiting from necessary care. It will return safely home. There is no safe home for farmed animals transported to an abattoir.
Numerous investigations by several British and overseas welfare organisations – notably Compassion in World Farming, Animal Aid, Hillside Animal Sanctuary and Animal Equality – have uncovered appalling treatment of animals in many facilities in this country, both those observing religious requirements and others’ secular procedures. The most recent report from an abattoir in Lancashire reveals shockingly cruel practices which might, not for the first time, result in criminal prosecutions.
We have nothing to be complacent about in this nation of ‘animal lovers’.
Finally, animals do not ‘give’ their lives for our benefit – they have them taken from them. The campaigners at slaughterhouses are peacefully witnessing to something that growing numbers of us – Friends, followers of many faiths and none – consider to be unethical.
International campaigns secretary of the Animal Interfaith Alliance
Bearing witness at slaughterhouses emerged from the Toronto Pig Save Movement when, last October, Anita Krajnc was arrested for giving water to animals being transported to slaughter. There are now over forty groups in the UK.
Undercover investigations by animal campaigning groups reveal the most appalling cruelty to animals in some British slaughterhouses. In October 2016 Animal Aid recorded footage from a Sheffield slaughterhouse that showed a water buffalo desperately trying to jump out of a restraint box after watching the killing of other animals, terrified sheep running in circles to evade stunning, and slaughtermen laughing at a sheep twitching on the floor.
This March, Animal Aid placed hidden cameras inside a Lancashire non-stun slaughterhouse for two days. These recorded sheep having their throats repeatedly cut – presumably due to the slaughterman failing to maintain a surgically sharp knife. Of the twelve slaughterhouses Animal Aid has investigated since 2009, two were Soil Association-approved, and another was RSPCA-accredited. Investigations have uncovered evidence of animals being kicked, punched in the face, given electric shocks and burnt with cigarettes.
In January, responding to footage of workers killing animals without first stunning them, the French Assembly voted to put compulsory surveillance cameras in all slaughterhouses from 2018. Despite appeals for CCTV to be installed in our own slaughterhouses, our government continues to drag its feet.
For Quakers, bearing witness and holding in the Light animals about to endure a horrifying death is an integral part of campaigning.
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