WSPA and RSPCA joint statement (MUFFLED SNIGGERS)
Nov 6, 2009
Following some inaccurate media reports on a case from earlier in the year, which sadly required the RSPCA to euthanise 10 German Shepherd dogs, the RSPCA and World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) wish to make the following statement.
Reports that WSPA has been critical of the RSPCA on the use of captive bolt guns are incorrect. Both our organisations appreciate that sometimes there are sad and extremely difficult circumstances where this method of putting an animal to sleep is necessary.
Nobody said that the WSPA was critical of the RSPCA. What was said was that the RSPCA used a method of killing which is clearly stated as being unacceptable in the WSPA guidelines on euthanasia. Anyone can read these guidelines for themselves.
WSPA's views on bolt gun use
WSPA believes effective and humane use of a bolt gun requires a specialist combination of skills; knowledge of anatomical variation in dog breeds, as well as thorough training in humane slaughter and dog handling. RSPCA inspectors are incredibly well trained and should be considered specialists.
Inspectors at the RSPCA are trained to use these devices using protocols developed with the Humane Slaughter Association for a range of species. They are also trained to consider all other methods available and select the most humane and safe method depending on the situation.
The RSPCA does not use captive bolts as a matter of course. They are used only when other options are not suitable, and generally where they are used, it is mainly with farm animals.
If the captive bolt is not used as a matter of course, then how on earth can the WSPA claim that RSPCA inspectors are - ‘incredibly well trained and should be considered specialists’ – if they rarely use this method???
As the WSPA have highlighted – dogs heads are different, depending on the individual and the breed.
Captive bolts are not used for euthanasia of dogs in WSPA projects, and not listed as an acceptable method for euthanasia in the WSPA guidance (on the International Companion Animal Management - ICAM website).
This is because the bulk of WSPA's stray dog work is carried out in developing countries. As such, WSPA highlights humane slaughter methods that require less specialist knowledge in order to give the chance of a humane death to as many animals as possible.
So it’s okay to use this barbaric method to kill pets in the UK but in developing countries, more humane methods are encouraged for the control of stray dogs.
Working together for animal welfare
The RSPCA and WSPA do an enormous amount of good work for animals across the world. Examples of current campaigns include both organisations working to introduce animal welfare legislation in China, or tackling global farm animal welfare issues such as the long distance transport of live animals for meat, as well as helping stray and neglected animals whether in the UK or overseas. The RSPCA is a UK member society of the WSPA, which is the world's largest alliance of animal welfare organisations.