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Following their meeting with the RSPCA last week, David, Dot and Jean have these points to make

RSPCA were very pleased to be approached directly ("the first visitors we've had") and stressed that they were open to further discussion. They were concerned about criticism of them on the web and in the media. They spoke of hidden agendas, as other people had spoken of their hidden agenda. The fact that they have spoken out against the government, that they were not allowed on farms during the outbreak, that they are excluded from the Policy Commission of Food and Farming, (as are other animal welfare organisations) and that they are now excluded from the 2002 list of approved personnel for livestock markets, makes one think that it is the government that has the hidden agenda.

The press releases that were put out from Feb. onwards show that they were objecting consistently to what was happening as well as helping with animal welfare. Their concerns were the same as ours and they had the same difficulties as we did in getting the press to take notice.

Freedom Foods is a subsidiary of the RSPCA but is completely separate and has its own board. Its farms are run to RSPCA welfare standards. RSPCA do spot checks to insure that these are maintained. (We would like to know more and hope Freedom Foods are as co-operative as the RSPCA.)

RSPCA deny any government funding and any allegiance to any political party. Their sole concern is the welfare of animals.

The Australian RSPCA and other like bodies are separate entities working to different legislation. Our own RSPCA are bound by our legislation and that of the EEC. They can only act in an advisory capacity. It is quite apparent from their press releases that during FMD their concerns about animal welfare went unheeded.

The information the RSPCA have is that vaccination is not at present a viable option. They are aware that other people hold different opinions. They suggest a meeting.

Evidence submitted to them shows that animals who have had FMD and recovered are inferior in condition and performance.
(If this is true, why is it not obvious to DEFRA vets?)

There were many issues raised that need further discussion. Ideas to change legislation and to improve aspects of the welfare of farm animals should be the subject of a further meeting.
All groups and interested parties should get together in order that action can be planned in a concerted manner.

If you are interested or want to discuss these issues further, email dorothy.boag@which.net
davidoakes@tiscali.co.uk Copies of RSPCA press releases are available.

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