Why would I have been blocked by the RSPCA?

I have been openly critical of the a RSPCA’s stance on non-stun slaughter and tweeted a reference to Animals Aid’s covert filming inside slaughterhouses. It’s last hit was a facility where non-stun slaughter for the halal is practised. Animal Aid claims that it did not know that at the outset (posing the question; how do they select their targets?) and seemingly is not playing religious politics.

@RSPCA_official has blocked my Twitter account. It can no longer see what I write. What is the RSPCA trying to avoid?

Animal Aid has now “hit” ten slaughterhouses – only one being halal. Nine facilities killed with prior stunning. Of those nine two were approved by the Soil Association and one was accredited under the RSPCA Freedom Foods scheme. All three would be considered “high welfare status” facilities.

The Animal Aid “hits” are too random to be considered to provide a reliable picture of slaughterhouse practice generally. They film for only a few days and who knows whether or not they were “lucky” to have caught the untoward incidents that make the  news media and are amplified thereafter.

What we can conclude, however, is that things go catastrophically wrong even in the nest run facilities, without or without stunning.  Questions have to be asked about slaughterhouse welfare right across the board. No structure exist for systematically collecting data of welfare practice. I tell a lie. Defra started an audit procedure in 2011 with one repeat in 2013. It collects data on a set week in September – in essence ensuring slaughter operators know well in advance when they are being formally audited.

This tells me that no one can say with any certainty how good or how bad practices are either across the board or at individual abattoirs. Data on the frequency of non-stun practice is not collected routinely – suggesting that in government (not parliament) circles there is no overwhelming concern that the welfare of non-stun slaughter is a bigger issue than across the entire industry. Of course it could be that ministers are merely burying their heads in the sand. It’s better not to collect data than collect information and ignore it.

One way to monitor standards continuously would be to mandate the installation CCTV. There is no appetite to do so to date.

Frankly I do not believe that the @RSPCA_official (nor @Britishvets) actually have robust evidence to support their joint political cause. It (or they) cannot robustly defend their case(s).

I have written to the RSPCA Chairman (via the website). Here is a copy of the letter. I am not expecting a response.

For your Chairman’s attention

Dear Mr Tomlinson

This is a formal complaint prompted by your blocking my twitter account.

As you will be aware if this reaches you I have been critical of your charity’s campaign opposing non-stun slaughter. Frankly the more I think about this the more I am coming to realise that we are not having an informed debate.

Veterinarians do not train to slaughter and it’s counter-intuitive. Now these days most Brits are pretty much disconnected from the source of the meat we consume. Not even farmers have the full involvement that my late father had. In his day many farmers killed their animals on the farm. I gather small animals were not stunned and merely slipped away. There has been no on-farm slaughter for meat for sale for half a century. Many farmers are now not necessarily engaged with the slaughter process.

Dr Temple Grandin says that when non-stun slaughter performed correctly animals do not recoil from the cut. She is an expert as they come. Intuitively this is surely so. At least for small animals whatever sensation animals feel is delayed and unconsciousness must be quick. If not immediate, our own personal experiences of a rapid drop in cerebral blood pressure suggests sense of lightheadedness. Pain? what type of pain? A good shechita/dhabiha cut, an incision actually causes very little tissue damage and no collateral damage. Internal organs do not have pain receptors. Indeed, pain receptors are stimulated but what sort of pain. Intuition suggests it may not be unbearable – nothing like the pain from mis-stunning.

You are not going to be moved by my science but I am curious to know why you would block twitter accounts that oppose your political views. I am now free to criticise with impunity while you have denied your own right of redress. You won’t be aware of my comments.

Just saying


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