|In response to James G Bloomer's letter (Aug
25), I would like to make a number of corrections.|
was not virtually silent during the foot and mouth outbreak; on the
contrary a quarter of our inspectors, ie 80, were taken off normal duty to
assist the hardest-hit farmers. Also, the society set up a brokerage
scheme to match need with supply of feed, shelter, bedding and other
supplies and services.
During the lambing season, when it became
clear that thousands of ewes were lambing in appalling conditions due to
movement restrictions in the eastern counties of England, RSPCA staff
lambed 3,000 ewes and helped bring more than 5,000 lambs into the
We helped in the organisation and provision of lambing
marquees, feed, shelter and manpower to farmers in crisis. The society
assisted with the euthanasia of about 1,300 ewes to prevent further
The fact that much of the work we were doing went
unreported does not mean that we were not working around the clock to
alleviate the suffering of animals and helping farmers where we
Alongside this hands-on help, we raised concerns to the
Government about some of the slaughter methods and sent inspectors to
monitor the slaughter of sheep at the mass site in Cumbria.
RSPCA investigated many incidents of alleged inhumane slaughter and has
continued to protest to government about the slaughter of healthy animals
with no proven link to the disease.
It is also worth noting that
the RSPCA's East Winch animal hospital was set up as a result of the last
seal distemper virus back in 1988 over 12 years before the foot and mouth
outbreak of 2001.
John Rolls, Director of Communications, RSPCA, Horsham,