No action after cruel virus cull

9 October 2001

No action after ‘cruel’ virus cull

By Adrienne Francis

A SLAUGHTERMAN who took pot shots at a flock of sheep during the foot-and-mouth crisis will not be prosecuted, the RSPCA has admitted.

The animal welfare charity said it had been advised not to prosecute the slaughterman who shot and injured a sheep at the height of the crisis in April.

The slaughterman, acting on behalf of Monmouthshire County Council, was ordered to cull the sheep out of fears they could spread the disease.

The RSPCA filmed the slaughterman shooting a herd of stray sheep in Gilwern, Monmouthshire, Wales on 11 April.

In the film, one sheep collapsed after being shot, struggled to its feet and then staggered off before it was shot dead.

The animal welfare group believes that the ewe suffered.

But it was told that, as the slaughterman was operating under difficult circumstances, a court would be unlikely to convict.

RSPCA chief veterinary officer Chris Lawrence said he was “extremely frustrated” that a prosecution would not be brought.

“We now want to see guidelines issued under the foot-and-mouth order which clearly define the way culling operations are planned and handled.

“We would like to see a suitably experienced vet on-hand to advise and supervise in all cases.

The RSPCA has written to Animal Welfare Minister Elliot Morley urging him to ensure that experienced vets are present at all slaughter sites.

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