16 July 1999

Farmers ponder on-farm killings

THE RSPCA has had a flood of inquiries from dairy producers planning to kill calves on-farm after the Calf Processing Aid Scheme ends later this month.

John Avizienius, senior scientific officer with the RSPCAs farm animals department said farmers who were worried about the welfare and legal implications of on-farm slaughter had been calling for advice on how to go about killing calves.

Mr Avizienius said that farmers were entitled to kill animals using legally approved methods and he suggested that there could be a significant number of farmers who would go ahead without contacting vets and welfare organisations.

He urged dairy producers to seek out new markets for their calves instead, but added: "Its easy to sit behind a desk and pass comment and we have every sympathy for farmers who are strapped for cash and see on-farm slaughter as their only alternative.

"Those farmers should contact a vet or the RSPCA for advice to ensure that slaughter is carried out legally and humanely."

But Compassion in World Farmings campaigns director Philip Lymbery said: "We want the CPAS to end and we would like to see a complete restructuring of the dairy industry."

He said that more beef sires should be used in the industry so that bull calves were more marketable. &#42