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VEGA News Item

 
Routine Mutilations of Animals - 07/02/2008
 
VEGA comments on a DEFRA consultation on Mutilations Regulations.
Re: Consultation on the draft Mutilations (Permitted Procedures) (England(Amendment) Regulations 2008)


A1.
(a) Do you agree that ovum transplantation (including ovum collection) by a surgical method should be exempt from the mutilations ban?

No; nor should any routine mutilation for the purposes of commercial exploitation be exempted from the ban. Occasional surgical procedures may escape the ban if carried out by a suitably qualified vet with the welfare of the animal, its mate, and its offspring in robust compliance with the practitioner’s avowed professional commitment. (Certain exceptions to this stipulation may be found in Home Office regulations on Scientific Procedures. They too need sharp vigilance, overhaul, and control.)

(b) Do you agree that the exemption sheep and goats?

No exemptions to the ban on routine mutilations in the interests of production rather than of the animals’ wellbeing should be allowed. Processes must be found that obviate violations of the Five Freedoms and their corollaries or they must be abandoned.

(c) Do you agree that it should only be permitted when anaesthetic is used?

Any mutilations should be carried out by a vet with the appropriate competence and means of choosing the appropriate anesthetics, methods, pain relief, and nursing, as well as of assessing side effects and sequelae (e.g. adhesions and scarring).

A2.
(a) Do you agree that embryo collection or transfer by a method should be exempt from the mutilations ban?
(b) Do you agree that the exemption should only be extended to sheep and goats?
(c) Do you agree that it should only be permitted when anaesthetic is used?


The answer to Q1 apply here. They should extend to genetic manipulations, cloning, use of stem cells and other biological materials (as in blood and organ transfusion), as well as in the production of pharmaceuticals and milk.


A3.
(a) Do you agree that laparoscopic insemination should be exempt from the mutilations ban?
(b) Do you agree that the exemption should only apply to sheep and goats?
(c) Do you agree that it should only be permitted when anaesthetic is used and when it is for the purpose of a breed improvement programme?


No such exemption should be allowed, unless under limited control by a vet and with establishment that the “breed improvement” applies solely to the non-human species of animal (which includes fish).

A4.
(a) Are there any other requirements you would like to see in place when carrying out these procedures?

The foregoing answers deal with this query.

(b) Are these procedures regularly carried out in other livestock apart from cattle, sheep and goat

Such procedures are being increasingly developed for other species, e.g. for cloning and genetic manipulations.

A5.
(a) Do you agree that wing-tagging should be exempt from the mutilations ban?

No. Any interference to a bird’s natural behaviour or means of defense counts as cruelty and infringement of the principles of the 5 Freedoms, unless it is performed individually by a competent vet in full knowledge of the particular need and its consequences. Any process or handling that calls for such routine violations must be banned. Such interferences in the natural behaviour of poultry, as in commercial rearing of chickens for their eggs or carcasses or game and racing pigeons for the purposes of “sport” and or food production are as reprehensible as the docking of the tails of dogs, sheep, horses or pigs, or as the routine trimming of birds’ beaks: systems, circumstances and practices need changing. Catch-and-return angling entails mutilations through handling and damage to protective surface layers of the skin, and augments risks – taken with stress and other injuries as the fish is “played” – that increase risks of infection or infestation.

(b) Do you agree that it should only be exempt for conservation purposes?

Yes; see (a) above.

(c) Do you agree that it can be carried out by a layman?

Only if by a trained conservator.

(d) Do you agree that it can be carried out without anaesthetic? (Note number confusion in the questions in consultation).

Only at the discretion in each case by the practitioner, who should be identified in the record.  

 
 

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