Two Open letters

 

  1. Have Vets done themselves proud?
  2. The Gilwern Slaughter - a critical analysis of the Gilwern Report, and cumulative law breaking actions of Monmouthshire Council.

 

 

By Capt. Bryn Wayt, Heathfield, East Essex

 

 

 

 

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1. Have VETS done themselves Proud ?

All professions come under the spotlight at some time or the other, and the latest shameful and contemptible government PANIC handling of the FMD self induced disaster, has brought the honourable profession of the VET into sharp focus.

The RCVS in their Annual Report for the year 2000, opened with their President, Professor Bob Michell, highlighting TWO DOMINANT CONSIDERATIONS,

QUOTE

Our planning must be dominated by two considerations:

 The advancement of the clinical welfare of animals through education, research and the setting and monitoring of professional standards: this includes ensuring that the skills are appropriate to the task.

 Impeccable standards of self-regulation in the interests of patients and their owners.

Not all of these are optimally attainable under current legislation."

UNQUOTE

I wonder if the selection and maintenance of these two self proclaimed objectives have been achieved - and by what measure ?

If they have, then vets can be proud or themselves - if they have not, the reverse applies.

Taking the first objective, I would question whether the "Clinical welfare of animals" has been a dominant factor in the mass, illegal slaughter of millions of sentient beings.

The second cannot in my estimation be classed as "impeccable". Can it be professionally correct for the veterinary profession to stand back and watch some clown with a shot-gun inhumanely kill pigs in the back of a trailer ? (Ref : Hall Farm, Church Eaton, Staffordshire).

What sort of standard of practise is that ? Can it be judged as "impeccable" ?

Jane Hearn (RCVS Registrar) postulates in the Annual Report that,

QUOTE

The real test, however, will be whether the new Guide achieves all or any of the following:

 improves the ethical standards of the profession

 better informs the public about what veterinary surgeons should and should not do

 enables the Disciplinary Committee to regulate the professions conduct more effectively.

UNQUOTE

Perhaps she will offer her considered opinion on the above atrocity ?

A passing measure may be the 675 written complaints received, of which 184 were "Mistreatment", and 167 "Negligence/MISDIAGNOSIS" and 74 "Emergencies" ?

I would argue that FMD is a trivial inconvenience amongst farm animals (and their owners) in the overall scheme of things and something that can be readily cured, whether homoeopathically or by vaccine.

The government should keep their export conscious greedy nose out of farmers business.

As the latest ongoing experience shows, this Labour government has neither the competence, nor the financial/moral/ethical common sense to cope  not forgetting the welfare of animals of which they have shown a barbaric disregard.

"Education, and research" have been mentioned by Professor Michell; is it not time to educate the government that FMD is a nothing in terms of disease, and the meat can be safely eaten thereafter ?

Research into their barbaric and illegal reactions should start with eradicating the MAFF and the illogical trigger for mass illegal slaughter which lies within the first sentence of the stupidities of FMD law, the Form A, ".where it is suspected that FMD exists".

Taking irreversible heinous action on mere suspicion is the domain of the infidel.

Bryn Wayt

Captain

 

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2. The GILWERN Slaughter

 

To : Mr S.K.F. Greenslade - Corporate Director Resources and Customer Services

Subject : Critical analysis of the Gilwern Report, and cumulative law breaking actions of Monmouthshire Council.

Ref : The Gilwern slaughter, 11th April 2001

Opening Remarks

I abhor the councils ignorance of the law in this matter, their blatant and arrogant refusal to admit guilt in that matter, and their cumulative failure to focus on the animal welfare issues precipitated by an inhumane act of animal slaughter, and outright cruelty, as captured on video by a member of the public.

I also openly criticise, and wish to be placed on public record, that I consider the councils use in the report of carefully selective parts of some of the law in the matter of animal welfare, as shadowy tactics. The assumption that the council knew the law, is covertly missing by a passing reference of S.I. 1995 No 731.

That the report delves into pages and pages of a Humane Slaughter Association guidance manual, whilst failing to be equally diligent in not just a guidance manual, but an essential part of the LAW is shameful.

Failing to mention and bring to everybodys attention, the following VITAL paragraphs that the council were either NOT aware of, or silently failed to adhere to when the chips were down is another area I wish to contest; namely,

Statutory Instrument 1995 No. 731
The Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995
Humane treatment of animals
4.(1) No person engaged in the movement, lairaging, restraint, stunning,
slaughter or killing of animals shall
(a) cause any avoidable excitement, pain or suffering to any animal; or
(b) permit any animal to sustain any avoidable excitement, pain or suffering.
(2) Without prejudice to paragraph (3) below, no person shall engage in
the movement, lairaging, restraint, stunning, slaughter or killing of any animal unless he has the knowledge and skill necessary to perform those tasks humanely and efficiently in accordance with these Regulations
.

Preamble

Text is in three colours.

Black - is verbatim from the council's report

Red - is for empahsis

Blue is my text

It is probably best that I refer to paragraphs directly from the Gilwern Report, and by use of BLUE text where I strongly condemn an action, remark or conclusion, any reader will be left with no doubts where I stand.

Where the Paragraph starts with a number, that is directly taken form the Gilwern Report.

Words in RED are to drawn particular attention to the certain council policy statements or beliefs.

 

START

1.3 The main focus of interest is in animal welfare, the necessity of the action taken and the extent to which humane processes were followed or were capable of being followed. Other salient factors include the more general processes of the Council in dealing with this disease and matters of public safety in the use of firearms.

Those who watched the video, will be in no doubt that the council FAILED to keep the main focus in sight, and by their abysmal failure, were the root cause of animals being treated badly and cruelly. That the report mentions general processes of dealing with FMD is a red-herring that should not have detracted form WHY sheep were inhumanely slaughtered.

The use of a rifle in an open space, surrounded as the report indicates by public roads and dwellings only reiterates the folly of even attempting to kill in this open space.

As far as I can establish there appears to be only TWO policemen looking after the whole of the public safety aspect of this fiasco. Considering the gravity of the situation, one is drawn to the conclusion this was not enough. I will stand corrected if TWO policemen were accompanied by others not mentioned.

1.4 The report has been produced as a matter of urgency to tight timescales by the Councils Internal Audit Division. Due to those time constraints significant reliance has necessarily been placed on the witness statements of officers present at the scene. In particular there has not been the opportunity to interview all material witnesses, neither have minor inconsistencies in witness statements been pursued.

To draw conclusions to any investigation without interviewing VITAL witnesses is not "best practise" and a poor "duty of care" in the compilation of events that a public body should expect its public to rely upon. I consider that another flaw in the affair.

Minor inconsistencies are indeed irritating, such as Mr A  who gave the order to kill  NOT being on the scene where the killing was to take place ! Again, I will stand corrected if that is not the case.

The TOTAL lack of any evidence from the TWO RSPCA officers in attendance is absolutely appalling, as is the TOTAL FAILURE of council persons to take advice from them in relation to the welfare and suitability of the killing field !

 

2.5 Two neighbouring authorities, Torfaen and Blaenau Gwent operate animal pounds, which have taken in animals from those areas, but there is an issue about the legality of moving animals to such a pound under the current restrictions. Monmouthshire County Council does not employ a shepherd, neither does it operate a pound.

Whilst this crisis had been in full swing for a while, it should have crossed somebodys mind, knowing your acknowledged problem of "stray sheep", to seek out a single shepherd and his dog to assist in rounding up these stray animals, so that your hired slaughterman (of whom his contract was exacting) could get on with that business. The lack of in-depth planning is what led to this council ending up in bad favour with the whole of the UK population who give a damn about animal welfare.

The Councils abject FAILURE to think this "kill stray sheep" policy through, indicates a deplorable standard of planning  as so aptly verified by the procurement of "hurdles" the day AFTER the Gilwern slaughter. Marvellous planning.

2.6 Within Monmouthshire County Council, the responsibility for enforcement of animal health and welfare rests with the Trading Standards Section of the Environment Directorate. The trading staff complement includes two full time Animal Health Officers.

I would like to know when they first clapped eyes on the LAW (not guidance material) for the humane slaughter of animals, and was that LAW written down in any "field notes" for the AHOs ?

3.5 This procedure had not been formally adopted at the time of the incident although discussions were well advanced and it was capable of partial operation. In particular, hurdles which could be used to contain animals were not procured until 12th April (the day after the incident).

The council manage to procure the services of a slaughter man, and know that his job is to kill sheep with a .22 rifle, yet from early March till 11th April  a FULL MONTH, this killing plan (which could endanger any member of the public) was not "formally adopted".

It is just like the MAFF(ia) they do things on the run and off the back foot, totally caught by surprise by most of what happens on the day - just as this council and the experienced rifleman was !!

3.3 In order to carry out such work on behalf of Trading Standards, the Slaughterman's Firearms Certificate needed amendment.

This was enabled by letter from the Council to Gwent Police on 23rd March 2001.

I wonder what the Certificate says in regard to firing .22 bullets in open spaces, and near public highways and dwellings ?

May the public have sight of that document ?

5. EVENTS OF 11TH APRIL 2001

5.1 On the 11th April two calls were received from the Police regarding sheep at Ty Mawr Road, Gilwern together with further calls routed through the Trading Standards Office at County Hall.

5.2 Officers A and B attended the scene and found that there were approximately seven to ten sheep on Abergavenny Road with an RSPCA Inspector attempting to herd them.

A Policeman was also present on the scene attempting to help secure the animals in a field off Ty Mawr Road. The Officers therefore assisted both the Police and RSPCA officers to herd the sheep into the adjoining field (hereafter referred to as the temporary holding) in which there were already approximately 20 stray sheep.

It looks like there were SIX persons involved in this "operation" in the killing field initially

  1. A policeman
  2. Mr A
  3. Mr B
  4. RSPCA
  5. RSPCA (as the report indicates the plural, "Officers")
  6. The slaughterman

 

So we have say 30 stray sheep in an enclosure that was not vetted as secure, or suitable, for a slaughter, as Mr A and Mr B left the scene to visit another scene, with TWO policemen (where or when the second one entered the frame is unclear).

Now we have perhaps three people at the killing field, when the shooting began,

  1. RSPCA
  2. RSPCA (the plural assumption still applying)
  3. The slaughterman

5.3 Officer A took control as the Councils lead officer on site and Officer B took a supporting role. At this point the Councils appointed slaughterman arrived on the scene having been earlier requested to attend an incident at Triley Mill, which had been left unresolved due to the priority of the incident at Gilwern.

5.5 Officers A and B, accompanied by two police officers, then went to look at the further problem reported by the police of straying sheep at another local farm and carried out a perimeter fence security check.

Yet no perimeter fence check was made at the killing field - why not - as this was already in the hearts and minds of Mr A and B and the council as the place where the slaughter would take place ?

The sheep at that location were adequately secure and were not felt to pose a risk to road safety. It was therefore decided that no immediate action was required for these animals.

5.6 The officers were joined at this local farm by the slaughterman and a police officer to discuss the position at the temporary holding. Officer A had concerns over the security of the temporary holding although it appears that no check of the perimeter fence was made in coming to this conclusion.

It not only "appears" that no check of the perimeter fence was done, it was a FACT no check was done !

Whilst security was rightly an issue, the WELFARE of the animals has yet again NOT been mentioned at ANY point; this is a clear breach of the council responsibilities and by neglecting to report the matter in the Gilwern Council Report, the assumption must be it was NOT discussed as it should have been.

It is also clear by the lack of a mention in the report, that the RSPCA Officers were not intimately involved in the collective decision as to the final fate of these 30 sheep, which is an another grave error of judgement.

 

Officer A formed the view that there was a possibility of the stock mixing with other sheep herds thereby potentially spreading infection and a risk of a road traffic accident.

The spread of infection was the least of anybodys worries at this point in time, as these sheep had been earmarked for slaughter, so another red-herring in the works.

This determined that the sheep should be killed within the temporary holding by the slaughterman.

This conclusion was relayed by Officer A by telephone to his Line Manager at County Hall to secure agreement. There is some confusion over the level of detail conveyed in this discussion.

The "level of detail" clearly missed out the WELFARE aspects of the animals, and the proximity of the dwellings, and the lack of privacy from the public highway, or the difficulties an open shoot would cause with out breaking the LAW, never mind the Guidelines so obviously referred to in hind-sight.

 

5.7 A risk assessment undertaken by the Officer A in consultation with the slaughterman, identified the Councils policy of killing by firearms as being an appropriate and achievable course of action.

Having been hired last month, Mr A and the slaughterman had little need to refresh their memories as to the reason both were out that day; the word "achievable" belies the barbaric outcome, and hides the blatant and obvious holes in the planning and execution (pun intended) of the policy to kill stray sheep.

 

5.10 The slaughterman began the operation and statements show that the first sheep was shot from a distance of approximately 10 yards.

It is shamefully obvious there is a serious contradiction in what the hind-sight look at the Guidelines say about killing with a .22 rifle and what "assessment" took place to allow the shooting to commence in the first place.

"On page 7 the Guidance Note states that the .22 calibre rim fire telescope sighted rifle is one of the most common rifles in use on farms, usually used for vermin control.

This weapon can however with the correct ammunition kill sheep when shooting from a short distance (between 5-25 cm. away)."

So we have a slaughterman assumed by the council to be up to speed with all the Guidance notes of how to kill a sheep with a rifle, and he starts shooting at a distance which 61 times the verified kill range, and even that assumes he uses the CORRECT ammunition !

There is a dreadful difference between 5-25 cm and 30 feet, in case anybody from the council has not noticed. I bet my bottom dollar that this "guidance" is not in any "field notes" for Mr A or Mr B or the slaughterman ! Another bit of hind-sight research come to light I should fancy.

What is the "correct" ammunition, and was it used on this occasion ?

 

Due to disturbance from onlookers it would appear that the other sheep then began to move with the result that the third sheep was shot in the ear, and ran off.

THANK GOD there was "disturbance" from onlookers, for the disgraceful slaughter may have went on for longer without any humane intervention from anyone on the spot, not least the council, whose PRIMARLY STATED aim was the WELFARE of the animals.

The neglect of duty that was witnessed by a few million "onlookers" who share my disgust at the spectacle captured on a video camera poignantly draws attention to the deficit in council animal WELFARE planning.

It underlines the contempt the council had for their own Animal Welfare Rules and, more importantly, the laid down law which the report claims is missing and that there is not have any MANDATORY orders for such events - more ignorant nonsense, and cover up.

Ignorance of the law is no excuse, even the layman knows that.

Having drawn up plans to kill stray sheep, then the onus falls on the perpetuator to know what they are about, and what they should and should not do.

That a sheep was shot in the ear, and "ran away" illustrates yet again, the low standards of animal welfare ingrained in the council logic.

It is apparent that sheep must have mingled with the flock and was not traced and caught to end its misery, for the report fails to tell the reader of an immediate follow-up to that stray "correct" bullet.

Again, I point out a council sadly lacking in perceptive planning and attention to detail.

 

5.11 A fourth sheep was then shot but was not cleanly killed and fell to the ground injured. The slaughterman therefore quickly approached and restrained the animal despatching a second shot from close range in order to kill the animal. By this stage, five rounds had been fired at sheep with a further 5-6 rounds being fired at the fixed target.

Having been told the correct distance is 5 - 25 cm (discounting the entry position and direction the bullet should take) and that the rifleman had to recalibrate his rifle sight more than once, just what was the "calibration" of the rifle sight taking into account ? Was it faulty, for once "set" then it should have been satisfactory to continue ?

The injured sheep that viewers saw, was enough evidence to convict on under the LAW as described in Statutory Instrument 1995 No. 731 - The Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995.

These Regulations were NOT explicitly presented in the report, probably for fear that such knowledge would again erupt adverse public opinion yet again. If that was not the case, then why were the regulations not overtly displayed just as the intricate details, by page number and quotes, of the Guidance Notes were ?

Selective use of the truth of the matter, is a blatant attempt to cover something up in my view, and is another shameful indictment of a council bereft of accountability, such that denial of these offences under the law did not take place and nobody is being prosecuted.

 

 

5.13 Following re-assessment a decision was taken to use a derelict barn in a field across the other side of Ty Mawr Road.

Having been alerted to stray sheep in this area at least a month previously, one can assume a fair amount of local knowledge and possible "holding" areas was in the councils scanty plans, but this obviously escaped the notice of those responsible that day.

Having got the sheep in a fair degree of panic, it is again obvious "unnecessary suffering" was generated in those sheep. Again, illustrating a poor tactical plan turning to worms because in the month or two before formal adoption of the "kill the strays" much had been left undone.

      1. Legal advice had been previously sought and given in respect of this policy. The legal reference to the matter appears to rest within article 40(2) of the Foot and Mouth Order 1983.

It is interesting to note the report cannot commit to believing where the Legal reference came from, such that the councils grasp is that it "appears" to rest with the Foot and Mouth Order 1983 !

If I were their lawyer, I should be a bit miffed that my legal advice had been watered down to a nebulous "appears" declaration.

Having at least appearing to know this part of the law, why then is there no intimate mention of the Welfare of Animals Act in equally eloquent terms ?

      1. That article states:
        If the owner or occupier of premises, or the owner or person in charge of any animal, fails to move, take all such steps as may be necessary to ensure that
        the animal is moved, detained or otherwise dealt with in accordance with that requirement or condition.

Whilst readers will know we were dealing with 30 sheep in a field, terrified at being shot at and seeing their SENTIENT BEINGS being killed not too expertly, we have to question the motive of outlining the singular "animal" concept that the council rely on in law.

I would direct this Monmouthshire council to The Treaty of Amsterdam which amplifies an animals "rights" to the status of SENTIENT BEINGS.

The lack of a mention of this under any reference to WELFARE, I doubt if they know what I am talking about - they will by the time they reply to this, by some deft and quick homework; at much the same speed as the "flawed" decision was taken to shoot sheep in a field patently unacceptable for numerous good reasons, not least ANIMAL WELFARE ONES !

 

      1. It is a powerful argument that, in the circumstances of the disease, animal movement is illegal and only permitted under licence.

What a load of tosh and piffle !

These animals had been straying for nearly two months and nothing constructive was done to stop them. Granted, the owner is to blame in that regard, but the councils slack procedures are also play a contributory part in these animals enjoying their last weeks of this illicit freedom which effectively meant signing their own death warrant. Not that owner seemed too displeased about it has to be said.

Equally, detention could be deemed unachievable and therefore animals will need to be otherwise dealt with, and that could include them being killed.

It is funny how they were detained long enough to slaughter them all ! It is sad they were detained long enough to cause them unnecessary harm, and injury, and distress. These factors were factors were achievable quite easily it would appear !

6.3.2 The issue in regard to slaughtering is wider than the events subject to this inquiry.

The current practice is understood to be that a slaughterman obtains a licence and certificate of competence after working under the supervision of a veterinary surgeon or meat trained health officer for an unspecified period of time and that this is issued for life.

Whilst I am no expert in the issue of a slaughtermans licence, I cannot find where a "meat trained health officer" has the authority to issue the said licence - a VET is the only person I can find who is allowed the privilege.

Can the council assist my lack of knowledge in this regard ?

For the record, here is my understanding of who can issue such a licence.

Certificates of competence
4.(1) In this Schedule "certificate of competence" means

(a) a certificate issued under sub-paragraph (2) below by a veterinary surgeon authorised for the purpose by the Minister ("an authorised veterinary surgeon");

(b) a certificate issued by a veterinary surgeon which accompanied an application for a licence under the Slaughter of Poultry (Licences and Specified Qualifications) Regulations 1991 ("the 1991 Regulations")[8] in accordance with Regulation 5(1)(a)(i) and Schedule 1 thereto; or

(c) a licence granted to the applicant for the purpose of slaughtering animals by the Jewish method by the Rabbinical Commission (referred to in Part IV of Schedule 12) in England and Wales or by the Chief Rabbi in Scotland.


(2) An authorised veterinary surgeon shall issue a certificate of competence
if

(a) having assessed the applicant, the authorised veterinary surgeon is of the opinion that the applicant

(i) is competent to carry out all the operations mentioned in paragraph 3 above in respect of which he is applying for a certificate without causing avoidable pain, excitement or suffering to any animal; and

(ii) has sufficient knowledge of the provisions of all the relevant legislation and of any relevant current code issued under regulation 7 relating to the operations in respect of which he is applying for a certificate;

(b) the applicant is, in the opinion of the authorised veterinary surgeon, a fit and proper person to hold a certificate; and

(c) the applicant is not below the age of 18.

 

Furthermore, no specified training or markmanship standards are required for the use of firearms; there is no mandatory requirement to follow any guidance relating to humane slaughter and there is no legal basis for best practice.

I would STRONGLY contest the above statement as incorrect and complete rubbish, and suggest a lamentable lack of knowledge in the laws of welfare, slaughter, and treatment of animals which are to be slaughtered  particularly "stray sheep".

By Act of Parliament, there ARE strict rules to be followed before a VET will even issue a slaughtermans licence (see above) and further strict rules  equating to best practise  that MUST be followed to ensure the Humane Treatment of Animals that are to be killed or slaughtered.

I make no excuses acquainting the reader, yet again, with Statutory Instrument No 731  1995.

A vital piece of regulation so conveniently omitted from the council report.

Statutory Instrument 1995 No. 731
The Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995
Humane treatment of animals
4.(1) No person engaged in the movement, lairaging, restraint, stunning, slaughter or killing of animals shall
(a) cause any avoidable excitement, pain or suffering to any animal; or
(b) permit any animal to sustain any avoidable excitement, pain or suffering.
(2) Without prejudice to paragraph (3) below, no person shall engage in the movement, lairaging, restraint, stunning, slaughter or killing of any animal unless he has the knowledge and skill necessary to perform those tasks humanely and efficiently in accordance with these Regulations
.

 

I would suggest, those involved at Gilwern breached para 4(a) and para 4(b) quite overtly and with forethought.

That is the basis of this formal complaint to the Monmouthshire Council, to which I expect notice to be taken and action taken., and by copy of this document to the RSPCA and the Chief Inspector of Police for Monmouthshire, they have attributable and recorded input for the public record.

I believe there is a case to answer :

Offences and penalties
26.(1) Any person who contravenes any provision of these Regulations shall be guilty of an offence.

 

 

6.3.5 The actual manner of the shooting can be considered in the light of the Guidance Notes issued by the Humane Slaughter Association, a voluntary rather than mandatory Code

I would again draw to the attention of the council that there are mandatory requirements when it comes to killing and slaughtering, especially in a public place, as I have outlined above.

By suggesting this "voluntary" nature of events as the council code, cannot be taken as acceptance of "best practise" and is to be condemned as a lamentable failure to adhere to proper and regulated, laid down procedures.

6.3.6 The actual method of despatch was by free bullet from a .22 calibre rim fire telescope sighted rifle with sound moderator fitted from a distance of between 10 and 15 yards.

I have already shown there is a chasm of difference between 5- 25 cm and 30 feet (not even 45 feet) and the probability of a kill from 61 times the proven kill distance.

On page 7 the Guidance Note states that the .22 calibre rim fire telescope sighted rifle is one of the most common rifles in use on farms, usually used for vermin control. This weapon can however with the correct ammunition kill sheep when shooting from a short distance (between 5-25 cm. away). The note continues to give advice as to the direction of the shot which should be at the animals forehead and aimed down the length of the neck into the main bulk of the body.

Even given the distance was too far for a guaranteed kill, the question of the angular entry point was obviously overlooked more than once by the rifleman and the person (Mr A) who ordered the executions. This shows, again, the lack of diligence and care of the WELFARE aspects this council concerned itself with.

6.3.8 Killing animals by free bullet is a permitted method of slaughtering or killing animals for the purpose of disease control under the Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations, 1995.

The manner of killing did not however meet the standards set by the voluntary Humane Slaughter Association guidelines both in terms of the distance and direction of shooting and the lack of restraint.

This may be considered to have led to suffering and distress of those animals not killed cleanly.

With that admission comes the proven case for : Offences and penalties
26.(1) Any person who contravenes any provision of these Regulations shall be guilty of an offence.

I would like to know why the council escapes, where a member of the public would undoubtedly be brought to book and see the inside of a magistrates court. Just because the rifleman was acting under contract to the council does not absolve him from the long arm of the law  or does it in this case ?

Whether this suffering and distress was unnecessary requires consideration of the circumstances prevailing at the time and any alternative courses of action open to officers.

That the flock was herded across the road so easily after the public made their protests, is answer to the question. There was, without a shadow of a doubt "suffering and distress" in these animals.

As SENTIENT BEINGS, these sheep were subjected to a degrading show of inhumanity that deserves to punished by the rule of law specifically scripted for such barbaric acts.

6.3.9 There has been much conjecture that the animals should have been despatched either by captive bolt or by lethal injection.

Correct me if I am wrong, but has not the entire countryside been witness to slaughtermen and vets wielding CAPTIVE BOLT GUNS for the past 9 or 10 weeks ?

It is the preferred way of rapid and efficient killing that the Monmouthshire council were incapable of achieving.

Let us forget the ludicrous suggestion of lethal injection !

In these respects the Council had previously determined despatch by free bullet as being the most humane approach.

Relevant considerations to the formation of this view were;
7 Captive bolt is inappropriate to non-abattoir conditions even if available.

It requires an ability to work within a confined space and does not kill outright.

The one word that sums up the above argument is BULLSHIT !

 

It has potential health and safety implications to the operator if undertaken in an unconfined space due to nervous spasm reactions from animals.

Give me a break - MAFF(ia) have used this captive bolt slaughter technique up and down the UK. The only Health and Safety risk is Repetitive Strain Injury to the operator.

It must also be considered however, whether the location of the field, being bounded on all sides by public highways and overlooked by dwellings from which onlookers had gathered together with the lack of equipment to contain the sheep made it suitable for the events planned.

These facts may suggest that the action taken was not necessary at that time and was unwise in that location.

Dont you just love this, "may suggest" handle the report incorporates ? A blind, stupid and dumb man would have no hesitation in coming to a FIRM conclusion that the action taken was NOT necessary and was VERY unwise  why is there even is a question mark about it, even after the event is astonishing, arrogant bureaucracy.

 

6.4.2 This is borne out by the fact that as a result of complaints from the public a more suitable secure and shielded private location was quickly identified within 50 metres of the temporary holding.

"Quickly identified" is the key here, and so is the fact it takes members of the public to point out to "professionals" (ha !) how to do their job properly.

It has however to be acknowledged that the officers at the scene were not blessed with the knowledge of what was to come, nor, does it appear, was the final location made known to them from the outset.

Yet you had discussed this very scenario that "stray sheep" may have to be killed..had it not crossed your collective brains, just how that was going to be practically achieved whilst taking into account your PRIMARY OBJECTIVES that you yourselves laid out,

  1. WELFARE OF THE ANIMALS
  2. NECESSITY
  3. HUMANE PROCESS
  4. PUBLIC SAFETY

In one fail swoop you broke EVERY principle you had agreed upon from day one !! Terrific !!

 

6.4.3 It should be further noted that the Officers were dealing with a serious incident and Officer A had formed the view that it required immediate action.

What was the rush ?

You have already stated the stray animals (7-10) had been herded into a field that contained another 30 sheep, by "..an RSPCA Inspector, a policeman, and youre Mr A and Mr B ".

They had so much time on their hands they did not bother to inspect the perimeter, yet found even more time to be diverted to a lesser event at another farm  from where Mr A gave the order to kill (even though there was no clear line of sight between the two locations).

They were supported by a Police presence and were following the agreed departmental policy on dealing with stray animals.

Officer As proposed course of action was considered and shared with senior staff at County Hall and had the local residents complied with Police advice to remain indoors it is possible the animals could have been killed without further incident.

Mr A did not appear to have any "shared" communication with the RSPCA Inspector, why not ?

If the councils boasted WELFARE was a number ONE priority, then it was lost in the indecent haste of the occasion, why was that ?

Blaming the general public  who thought more about the animals WELFARE than the perpetuators  is a twisted and unwarranted deviation from the councils basic responsibilities, and is a shameful attachment of blame which is totally unwarranted.

The use of the word "possible" again illustrates the nebulous and wishy-washy pathetic "kill roaming sheep" plan which was not even properly ratified.

 

6.4.4 The constraints on animal movement imposed under the Foot and Mouth Disease Order 1983 are also relevant. Under this statutory instrument even short animal movements are prohibited unless there is an enabling licence. This is likely to have made Officer A reluctant to move the sheep from the field in which they were first enclosed.

This is a fatuous argument, as they were going to be killed anyway, so the nonsense about fear of illegal movement goes out of the window  these sheep had been wandering about since 4th April anyway (first report they were Mr Ys).

 

6.5.1 The actual instruction to carry out the killing was given by Officer A who was present at the scene.

This does not equate with what the report said earlier, "The Officer is believed to still have been at the neighbouring farm (see 5.5 above) rather than at the temporary holding at this time.

There is no clear line of sight between these two locations."

Not a very "expert" way of exercising authority to kill 30 sheep when you dont know their next move.

The Line Manager clearly relied on the expertise of Officer A present at the scene in sanctioning the action.

The importance of clarity in matters such as this cannot be over-emphasised.

Well there seems to be lack of clarity in where Mr A was then ?

The "expertise" was clearly missing in the heat of the battle, if it takes members of the public to point him in the right direction  across the road.

"Expertise" would suggest timely and intuitive relations with the RSPCA Officer/s would it not ?

"Clarity" seems to be missing in the minute details of the original plan as to how anybody was going to capture and them slaughter "stray sheep"  without the lack of a shepherd which the council saw fit to do without during this national crisis - and in an area where "stray sheep" were a known persistent problem. Wise eyes were missing this "clarity".

 

6.5.3 It is also relevant that there was a Police presence in closing off the highway, advising residents to stay indoors and ensuring public safety in a situation where firearms were to be discharged.

This report must in consequence assume that public safety was not compromised by these actions.

It is understood that one of the police officers present at the scene had experience of firearms.

"Never assume, CHECK" is a saying I have carried from my Royal Air Force days, so I ask what has a report that "assumes" anything, got to do with ensuring public safety ?

"The highway" was closed off - the report indicates the killing field was surrounded by road, how many police were securing the travelling public, and how many were securing the gathering onlookers ? I have read about TWO police officers !

The "Herald of Free Enterprises Captain "assumed" the bow doors were closed !!

 

7.1 The Authority had determined that in certain circumstances the destruction of animals would be necessary as part of the strategy to contain and help eradicate the spread of foot and mouth disease.

It has considered methods of destroying stray animals and concluded in favour of free bullet. In doing so it retained the services of a licensed slaughterman and firearms user. It had also prepared a draft protocol for dealing with strays, although this was only in partial implementation at the date of the incident.

That says it all  your council were obviously ill-prepared to effectively deal with stray animals; not one barrier/hurdle had been procured, nor logistics in place to secure such animals for their ultimate demise by bullet in a public place.

7.2 The situation at Gilwern was an ongoing problem where the alleged owner of the sheep was not meeting his obligations to contain his animals with the resultant threat of the spread of the disease.

These sheep did not have the disease, and that red-herring is not worth mentioning; the fact is council slack action precipitated a public outrage, and inhumane slaughter of frightened animals.

 

It seems appropriate therefore for the Council to have taken the action it did in killing these particular animals. Put frankly, the farmer had had sufficient warning of his failure, was out of the County with no representative available to look after his affairs and in the middle of a significant national crisis, could not expect the same response as if no such circumstances prevailed.

Put frankly - the council made an absolute balls of the operation from the planning point of view and the ANIMAL WEFARE point of view.

As the Brigadier said to MAFF(ia), " get your ******g act together".

A patient who is unconscious in an Accident and Emergency Hospital Centre is entitled to the same level of treatment as if he/she were fully awake at the same centre  so using the lame excuse that the "Mr F" was not present to tend his sheep (even though he authorised their slaughter) does NOT absolve the council from tackling the problem with a lesser degree of compassion and humanity when an order to kill had been issued; and it is an obscene suggestion to offer this as an excuse for a different response.

Since when did such an invention of circumstances give you the right to break the law under the 1995 Act ?

7.3 It would have been preferable for the Council to have set out the method of dealing with stray animals in its letter of engagement to the slaughterman.

It would have been "preferable" if you cared ONE jot about the welfare of animals rather than the issue of Red Tape, and the construction of a lone rifleman contract.

What terms are in the contract now for the humane killing of stray sheep ?

Yet again, another example of government closing the stable door after the horse has bolted !

The Council should have considered whether it was appropriate to require him to comply with the guidance of the Humane Slaughter Association.

You bet your sweet life it should have considered such guidance; not only from "guidance" material, but from a Statute Instrument with heavy legal powers that you overtly, and ignorantly neglected to consult and obey as required by the law, and therefore you are plainly guilty of an offence under such an Instrument  and well this council knows it !

7.4 Despite the movement constraints of the 1983 Foot and Mouth Order, the openness of the shoot location, the lack of equipment on site to contain sheep, the fact that members of the public had gathered by the time shooting commenced and the availability of a secure private location within a short distance demonstrates that the decision to carry out the process in the temporary holding was flawed.

That last sentence is as about as honest as this councils report has been.

Regrettably, further honest statements are thin on the ground in many more aspects than just the above !

Had the final action been the only action then it is almost certain that the public condemnation of this act would not have arisen.

By saying "public condemnation" is the council actually divorcing itself from condemning what had happened in this inhumane and shocking event ?

7.5 Furthermore, it is apparent that no detailed physical inspection of the boundary fences to the temporary holding was made before concluding that it was not sufficiently secure.

Notwithstanding that the owner or lessee of the field had not formally consented to the sheep being held there, the location is understood to have been used previously to contain stray sheep and there must be material doubt as to the pressing need for immediate action.

You contradict your own councils decision then

"It seems appropriate therefore for the Council to have taken the action it did in killing these particular animals."

With the words "the need for clarity" still ringing in my ears, is this not a duplicity in the making ?

It appears therefore this council does not know which was "best practise".

One minute "it seems appropriate" the next minute there is, "material doubt".

I think the general public have a greater understanding of what "best practise" means when it comes to the humane slaughter of stray sheep.

And where is the RSPCA mans input in all this disgraceful and barbaric slaying and cruelty ? Not one mention of his part  in fact there should be TWO other witness statements, as there was apparently two RSPCA men on scene.

It would have been preferable to take a little time to ascertain whether there was a more appropriate location for the necessary, but distressing operation.

Yes it would have been !

7.6 Whilst the actual decision may now be viewed as flawed primarily in terms of timing and location, there is no evidence to suggest that the officers or the slaughterman acted in any way irresponsibly or negligently. They were following Council policy but were insufficiently aware of public sensitivities.

They were irresponsible in that they neglected to follow the LAW of this country to effect the humane killing of an animal.

They were irresponsible in that they had the time, and the local knowledge (they were not strangers to the scene ?) to establish that this was NOT a suitable location to kill sheep without causing undue distress.

Why was it necessary for the rifleman to carry out TWO calibration shoots for his sight ?

Why did he shoot at a distance 61 times that recommended for a kill with a .22 bullet ?

Was that not irresponsible ?

Was it not irresponsible having hit one sheep in the ear, not to pursue that injured animal and quickly put it out of its pain and distress ?

Was it not irresponsible to fire bullets in a field "surrounded by public highways" ?

Was it not irresponsible not to take advice from the RSPCA men, who are professionals in animal welfare.

Was it not irresponsible to try and corner agitated sheep without the use of a "hurdle"

Was it not irresponsible to order the kill from a position (another field) where the line of sight did not afford precise safety and control ?

7.7 In this respect it must be acknowledged that any killing of animals in public view is likely to cause distress no matter how necessary that action might be.

The slaughterhouse process involving captive bolt stunning followed by bleeding or pithing (destroying the brain stem by insertion of a flexible wire or rod) for example, would be likely to prove distressful if observed by a casual onlooker.

The abiding impression is one of officers attempting to do a difficult and unpleasant job making wrong judgements and then becoming caught up in a spiral of events out of their control.

The abiding impression is that the council were totally ill-prepared with their plans when the chips were down  the action plan had NOT been thought through properly, and had been badly neglected in the most VITAL area, that of HOW is the KILL to take place safely and humanely with the animals WELFARE as top priority.

As the report admits it was a flawed decision.

You neglected to follow the SIX "Ps" - Perfect Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.

8. RECOMMENDATIONS

8.1 No grazing licences or agricultural tenancies should be entered into with Y until such time as he has evidenced to the satisfaction of officers that he is capable of exercising satisfactory animal husbandry.

No argument with that !

8.2 Prosecution against Y should be given full and detailed consideration in relation to the allegations of permitting stock to stray in contravention of the Foot and Mouth Order 1983.

And what of the other offenders you referred to in this report ?

Having the taste for prosecutions, why has this council blatantly neglected the fact they have broken the law, and no mention of even a reprimand to those who were intimately involved in this scandalous exhibition of incompetence ?

8.3 The Councils policy for dealing with stray animals should be formally adopted and publicised as a matter of urgency so that all interested parties are aware of their obligations and consequences of action.

Would the last one out, please close the stable door !

8.4 The draft protocol for dealing with the operational aspects of stray animals should be finalised and implemented as a matter of urgency.

Thats right, close that stable door after the horse has bolted ! Now that you have thought of the " hurdles" too.

8.5 The Council should review its arrangements for the engagement of contractors involved in the killing of stray animals during the current outbreak. In particular, consideration should be given to the desirability of requiring compliance with the Humane Slaughter Association Guidance Notes.

It should be MANDATORY !!!! Not just a consideration; and for heavens sake take a look at The AMSTERDAM TREATY and get up to speed in your responsibilities !

And you should make slaughterers aware, by personal copy of,

Statutory Instrument 1995 No. 731
The Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995 Humane treatment of animals


4.(1) No person engaged in the movement, lairaging, restraint, stunning,
slaughter or killing of animals shall
(a) cause any avoidable excitement, pain or suffering to any animal; or
(b) permit any animal to sustain any avoidable excitement, pain or suffering.
(2) Without prejudice to paragraph (3) below, no person shall engage in
the movement, lairaging, restraint, stunning, slaughter or killing of any animal unless he has the knowledge and skill necessary to perform those tasks humanely and efficiently in accordance with these Regulations
.

8.6 No disciplinary action should be taken against the officers involved and the relevant authorities should be advised that the Council sees no reason to suggest the slaughterman should not continue with his profession.

That is an absolute cop-out !! A council has a duty to uphold the Law, and a Duty of Care to the public  your council failed to do BOTH - otherwise the wrath of the UK would not be on your shoulders now !

It is shameful that having broken the Law, nobody has been prosecuted these men. There is clear and irrefutable evidence that animals suffered at the hands of the rifleman, through the orders of a council member  Mr A  allegedly not even on the scene !

8.7 The Council should co-operate fully with any enquiries made of it by the RSPCA or further enquiries by the Health and Safety Executive.

 

8.8 The Council supports the National Assembly, without prejudice to recommendation 8.6 above, should it seek review of the regulations dealing with the licensing of slaughtermen.

8.9 The Corporate Director  Environment should review the adequacy of command and control arrangements for dealing with off-site incidents ensuring there is clarity in decision making between local and central officers and clarity on the roles of officers involved in such circumstances.

Thats right batten down the hatches now that the ship is sinking !

It is clear to me, and probably the whole nation if they took time to see the video and then read the council report, that there is room to call for the prosecution of those directly involved in the Gilwern atrocity.

That the council report does not admit to blame in these regards is another shameless extravagance of local government.

 

Report Authors S.K.F. Greenslade
Corporate Director  Resources and Customer Services

B.C. Pearson
Head of Audit, Revenues and Information Services

For press enquiries
Cherry Burcher
Communications Assistant
Resources and Customer Services
01633 644209

Signed : Captain B. R.Wayt

Tanglewood

Cross-in Hand

HEATHFIELD

East Sussex

TN21 0TU

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