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Reindeer 'cruelty' slammed by rights group

Reindeer 'cruelty' slammed by rights group

Published: 07 Dec 2010 14:11 GMT+01:00
Updated: 07 Dec 2010 14:11 GMT+01:00

WSPA released a video on Monday that shows reindeer in distress when herded and transported, and while at the slaughterhouse.

"The film that we are showing is particularly shocking now that Christmas is upon us, but it clearly shows the cruel reality that reindeer are exposed to," Roger Pettersson, secretary general of WSPA Sweden, said in a statement on Monday.

The footage also shows a reindeer being killed by a knife stab to the neck, as well as animals being earmarked by knife without anesthesia.

"This must be stopped immediately," Pettersson told news agency TT on Monday.

WSPA tasked a journalist with investigating the conditions for reindeer on their way to slaughter.

"He followed the reindeer herding and observed the gathering, selection, transport and slaughter, and evidence shows a high stress level for the animals. The reindeer are stressed during transport and their antlers become entangled. Even during branding, the animals are treated poorly," said Pettersson.

He said it is a challenge to handle reindeer, which are semi-domesticated animals and not accustomed to people.

"Densely packed into transport vehicles, reindeer antlers become weapons. They get caught in the sides of transport vehicles and they can even hurt each other before they reach the slaughterhouse," Pettersson said in a statement.

As such, Pettersson advocated the use of smaller mobile slaughterhouses such that the slaughterhouse move, not the reindeer.

According to the WSPA, the problem of distressed reindeer is similar in all Nordic countries. It said it will call on the the Nordic Council of Ministers to urge it to act.

The council adopted a declaration in 2008 that animals should be treated as sentient beings, have intrinsic value, and should be respected accordingly.

However, the Swedish National Sami Association (Svenska Samernas Riksförbund, SSR) has rejected the WSPA's claims that reindeer are subjected to cruel conditions and vowed to take action against herders who use unsanctioned methods.

"From the reindeer's point of view, we do not accept slaughter methods that are not sanctioned by the authorities. We take a stand against individual reindeer owners who use knives in organised slaughter," Jorgen Jönsson, the chairman of the SSR, said in a statement on Monday.

SSR national director Anders Blom added that he is adamantly against the use of a knife to kill reindeer.

"This is naturally something that is upsetting, but we have nothing against someone observing how we do our job. We have nothing to be nervous about," SSR national director Anders Blom told TT on Monday.

"We only use approved methods and have been working with government agencies to create programs for the treatment of animals based upon existing regulations," he added.

Research by the SSR, in collaboration with Sweden's University of Agriculture (Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, SLU), shows that the stress levels of reindeer which are slaughtered has decreased during the last couple of years and are now at acceptable levels, according to Blom.

"You measure the animals' pH levels. The limit for a healthy animal that is not stressed during slaughter is 5.8. Fifteen years ago, 30 percent of the animals were above that value – today it is 8 percent. Most show no signs of stress," he said.

TT/Vivian Tse (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

15:26 December 7, 2010 by Nemesis
You can Halal in Skåne, but if the Sami walk on the cracks on the pavement, they have to be hounded about it.

WSPA should be told what to do with there anti Sami having land and sterilising the Sami, ideologies.

The hypocrisy of this reeks.

Is the hypocrisy of going after Assange for having consenual sex for the crime of rape and then letting rapists roam around Sweden raping as they please, not enough for Swedes?
18:26 December 7, 2010 by caradoc
Nemesis,

i do not recall seeing any report of the hounding of the Sami by the WPSA.

If animal cruelty is taking place , no matter who is doing it , it should be reported and acted on .

Also since there has been no trial yet regarding the accusations against Assange how can you know it was consensual. were you there ?
18:57 December 7, 2010 by Nemesis
@ caradoc

More has been said about this than just this very thinned out and dumbed down article, about this subject.
19:41 December 7, 2010 by Wireless.Phil
Why won't the video play?
20:26 December 7, 2010 by procrustes
The link below pretty much captures the inanity of this debacle. I wonder what Olaf Palme would think. Women have it so good in Sweden that the Feminists no longer have real issues, so the crazies have turned the Feminist movement into a androgyny.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/naomi-wolf/interpol-the-worlds-datin_b_793033.html

Sad. Really, sad.
21:25 December 7, 2010 by dammen
Unfortunately there is no such thing as animal rights in Sweden - as I found to my cost when I moved here. Animal abuse is a way of life and nothing is going to change as long as bestiality is legal.

As far as Assange is concerned - there must be more at stake than alleged rape - just look at the situation with the chief of police in Uppsala and the punishment he got for the years of abuse he gave to young girls.
22:17 December 7, 2010 by LordSqueak
"The footage also shows a reindeer being killed by a knife stab to the neck,"

No it doesn't. It doesn't actualy show what the raindeer is being killed with.

But judging by the insta-death of the raindeer, it seems highly improbable that it was a knife. More likely this thing http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captive_bolt_pistol
07:41 December 8, 2010 by Alf Garnett
How do they know the reindeer are stressed, have they complained to their shrink?

Typical political correct numpties, maybe it would be better to shoot the reindeer on the spot & then drag the carcass's away through the herd.

They should get their priorities right, you should here the screaming from the humane "Halal" slaughterhouse near globen. But they can't/daren't accuse them for cruelty to animals, that would be religious discrimination.
11:51 December 8, 2010 by Dr. Dillner
Feed them a case of beer before the slaughter, it will reduce their stress.
20:17 December 8, 2010 by Swedish123
The guys who did that shoud be killed.
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