The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has asked the Scottish Government to address the “lack of cull sow slaughter facilities in Scotland”.
In the midst of delivering a generally positive message on the country’s animal welfare successes, BVA president, John Blackwell, told a high profile gathering in Edinburgh that Scotland’s cull sows should not have to be transported over 500 miles away for slaughter.
“I would like to take this opportunity to ask the Cabinet Secretary (Scotland’s farm minister, Richard Lochhead) to support the building of a multi-species slaughter facility at Forfar to avoid this unnecessary and stressful transportation of animals at the end of their lives,” said Mr Blackwell, speaking during the BVA’s annual Scottish dinner, held in the Scottish parliament.
Scotland already has a new pig abattoir under construction at Brechin, of course, just up the road from Forfar, a development which, it’s understood, will include a facility for handling cull sows.
An additional point of consideration, in the context of the BVA’s plea for a solution to Scotland’s current cull sow issue, is that the Scottish Government is already grant-funding the Brechin plant to the tune of some £2.7m.
Away from cull sows, the core of Mr Blackwell’s Scotland message was that the country’s recent progress on compulsory microchipping, welfare at slaughter and the Scottish Government’s review of the pet trade in exotic animals were all “beacons” of good animal welfare.
Despite adding a warning that Scotland needed to be on its guard against the “creep of non-stun slaughter into the country” he said that BVA nationally and the BVA Scottish Branch both welcomed the positive steps and the clear leadership the Scottish Government has shown on many issues.
“We are all of us custodians of animal welfare and it is always good to see leadership where animal welfare is concerned,” said Mr Blackwell.