20 August 2001
‘Pithing ban causes suffering’

By FWi staff

AN EU ban on pithing means that cattle are suffering unnecessary pain and distress in slaughterhouses claim vegetarian campaigners.

Pithing, the practice of mashing an animals brain with a rod after it is stunned, to prevent it kicking out involuntarily, was banned this year.

This was prompted by fears that this practice could spread BSE.

But the use of captive-bolt stunning causes only a temporary loss of consciousness, claims Viva.

The group has released a video shot in Austrian abattoirs which show animals moaning and writhing as their throats are cut, reports the Daily Mail.

Viva is calling for an urgent independent investigation to establish the extent to which conscious animals are being slaughtered in Britain.

RSPCA chief vet Chris Lawrance told the newspaper that it was possible that writhing was a reflex action, but said moaning suggested the animal was awake.

Small abattoirs claim the ban on pithing is unnecessary red tape which makes businesses uneconomic.

The ban came into effect of 1 July.

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