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Independence referendum

Last month we asked supporters to demand a better deal for Scotland’s animals after the coming independence referendum on September 18Th. See original bulletin here.

The Scottish Government has circulated a response to your messages. We want to present the truth behind the spin.

Ministers state that:

“You may be aware that over 95 per cent of the sheep, cattle and pigs slaughtered in Scotland are already slaughtered in premises with CCTV.”

The Scottish Government is certainly aware that this claim isn’t true.

The Food Standards Agency state that only 7 out of 28 red meat abattoirs and a mere 1 out of 4 poultry plants have CCTV. These are also monitored by management so useless.

“There is a possibility that any mandatory requirement for CCTV could impact disproportionately on the smaller, independent slaughterhouses. This could have the inadvertent consequence of lengthening journey time to slaughter for some animals if those
local slaughter houses become financially unviable.”

The government goes on to insult intelligence by claiming that the introduction of CCTV will actually have a negative impact on animal welfare.

The Union UNISON backs Scotland for Animals’ campaign. Tens of millions of pounds of taxpayers money doled out to the Scottish slaughter industry each year to finance more efficient and cost effective machinery to kill and butcher animals.

Leaving aside the huge amount of capital already available to these businesses SfA has made it clear to Ministers that a tiny fraction of these public subsidies could be earmarked to offset any costs of CCTV installation and management if absolutely necessary.

“The Scottish Government remains open to the possibility of introducing legislation to make
CCTV in slaughterhouses compulsory,….”

Another lie.

While sitting down negotiating at the Parliamentary Cross Party Sub-Group on CCTV set up at Scotland for Animals’ request behind the scenes ministers had already made the decision to discount the possibility of introducing legislation.

From documents seen by SfA this decision was made in 2012.

Claims are also made that the Sub-Group’s views will be taken into account.

Apart from the notable exception of the Scottish SPCA, Ethical Voice for Animals and Quality Meat Scotland the Group has descended into a grubby gathering where the slaughter industry, politicians and government friendly animal organisations swap ideas on how best to kick the issue of CCTV in abattoirs into the long grass.

Despite being officially open to the public members of Scotland for Animals and representatives of the European Alliance for CCTV in Slaughterhouses have been officially banned from attending.

In summary the government’s response is a tissue of false claims, smoke and mirrors and “it wisnae me” type denials of responsibility.

The reply doesn’t mention Minister Richard Lochhead telling us in writing that the Government wouldn’t be acting on SfA calls for an overhaul of the Animal Health and Welfare Act as they had more important things to do.

Or that the government lied to the Scottish people and elected representatives saying that unstunned slaughter wasn’t happening here. SfA were right, it was and still is.

Nor does it mention the government lying about legal advice in order to block CCTV in abattoirs. A lie told to the public and MSPs and for which still nobody has been held to account.

Or even that the Scottish Government instructed all councils in Scotland not to enforce laws put in place to limit the amount of meat sourced from animals not stunned before slaughter.

This response is from an administration which we now believe is actually incapable of telling the truth. They treat the people of Scotland like mugs and ensure the animals of Scotland have as little protection as
possible.

We call on MSPs with integrity from across the political spectrum to act and ensure our country leads the way forward rather than the race to the bottom.

According to ex-head of the Scottish Government Animal Health and Welfare Division, now head of the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers, animals are “raw material”.

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