Is stunning reason for exporting livestock?

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IT WAS interesting to read Mr Kneen’s letter with regard to hill lambs (light lambs), Examiner, January 10.

I sincerely hope his suggestions become reality so these animals will no longer be victims of live export for slaughter but will instead be slaughtered at our own abattoir.

Given that we do have our own abattoir, which fully meets environmental health standards for export of ‘off the hoof’ as opposed to ‘on the hoof’ meat, there is no logical or acceptable reason for live export for slaughter. The thought therefore occurs that maybe the answer lies in the method of killing.

I believe Manx animal welfare standards require pre-stunning before slaughter. I understand that pre-stunning of the animal is not permitted for the local meat market so is that why our farmstock is being exported live, to supply that particular market in the UK or elsewhere?

I should be grateful if government bodies would investigate the possibility and reply. As a taxpayer I strongly resent subsidising farmers who engage in live export for slaughter and if it is to supply the local meat market, then it must be against our animal welfare standards.

Of course, if there’s nothing to hide than I’m sure that any campaigners randomly monitoring shipments will be made welcome. I am equally sure that, as mentioned in Mrs Corlett’s letter (Examiner, January 3), such campaigners will be in evidence before much longer. Mr McLean’s letter (Examiner, January 10) and Mrs Corlett’s both made clear that such people are knowledgeable and persistent.

Their concerns are valid and their effect on our animal welfare reputation cannot be discounted.

All fears and doubts could be removed at a stroke by instigation of compulsory on-island slaughter for all Manx-bred meat animals. The decision by our government to bring this about is overdue and, as Mr Kneen pointed out, would turn our abattoir into a goldmine to the benefit of our animal welfare reputation, our farmers, our workforce, our nutrition and our economy.

Mr Kneen also suggested that the move could be subsidised in the early stages from some of the said £67,000,000 currently paid in subsidies to farmers, who then betray us by exporting live for slaughter elsewhere. I suspect that £67,000,000 was meant to read: six to seven million (which is more accurate!) but is still £7,000,000 too much when farmers do not play fair in failing to support our own abattoir.

Mr McLean rightly mentioned that animals have no vote. Maybe so, but people who care about animal welfare do have a vote and our governing bodies would do well to bear it in mind.

They are busy people but I’m sure if they will only give time to consider the facts that have been put before them in connection with live export for slaughter and the urgent need to put our own abattoir back into profit, they will realise that compulsory on-island slaughter is an urgent necessity and will be of much-needed benefit across a broad table, including themselves.

P. PHILLIPS

Ramsey

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