Memorandum by the Humane Slaughter Association
LETTER TO THE CLERK OF THE COMMITTEE
Controls over Firearms
Thank you very much for the opportunity, albeit
very late, to offer our views on the above. As discussed, the
British Veterinary Association (BVA) brought the consultation
to my attention and the views of the Humane Slaughter Association
(HSA) largely reflect those documented in the BVA's submission.
However, there are three points I wish to bring to your attention:
1. An air pistol can be used to effectively
kill large poultry, such as geese and turkeys. These birds have
very strong necks and can be difficult to kill by neck dislocation
without the aid of specialist equipment. In the case of casualty
birds, this method is very useful, though not in widespread use.
The HSA is currently involved in the development of a small captive-bolt
tool designed expressly for this purpose. In the event of it being
successful, we would recommend its use above that of an air weapon,
for safety's sake if nothing else.
2. The BVA highlights the inconsistencies
surrounding the licensing of handguns for the purposes of humane
destruction, mainly to veterinary surgeons. The HSA feels that
a golden opportunity to remove such weapons from circulation was
missed in the drafting of the Firearms Amendment Act. The
Act does not include a statutory definition of "humane killer".
If it did, then exemptions could have been made for humane killers
and anything not falling within the statutory definition would
have become an illegal weapon.
3. I frequently hear horror stories from
different parts of the country describing the activities of police
officers called out to shoot escaped livestock. They generally
include accounts of animals being shot several times, in the wrong
place, with inappropriate ammunition. Although I have been involved
with some forces in the training of their officers in respect
of farm livestock, I have received little enthusiasm from others
when I have offered my services at training course. Surely there
should be a standard level of knowledge among police officers
across the country, especially in important areas such as anatomy
and ballistics. Getting it wrong has serious implications for
both animal welfare and public safety.
I enclose copies
of the HSA publications "Humane Killing of Livestock Using
Firearms" and "Humane Dispatch and Disposal of Infant
Calves" for reference. Further copies can be obtained from
the HSA at the above address. I also include a publications leaflet
for your further interest.
I hope you find our comments useful and if I
can be of any more help to you, in any matters concerning firearms
and/or the slaughter or humane destruction of animals, please
do not hesitate to make contact.
C W Mason
Chief Technical Officer
11 November 1999
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