And here's the good news at last...!

The RSPCA has just issued this statement:

“Following public concern expressed on this issue, the RSPCA has decided to suspend the use of the captive bolt as an approach to euthanasia on any dogs, pending a review.

“Although there is no new scientific evidence on this issue, we do understand that putting animals to sleep does upset many people, so we have also decided to put our policy forward to external consultation, including by vets and independent scientists.
“The RSPCA is sensitive to public opinion, and we hope that by doing this it will reassure people that we are as open and transparent as possible.”

And the link to our earlier coverage of this significant issue.... 

We've campaigned hard on this one, so this is a huge relief. 



The Eejits said…
Fantastic news!!!! What took them so long?
Anonymous said…
Brilliant news!!! BSL next???? paws crossed

Mutthouse xx
Tc27 said…
Great news. DT highlighted the issue and I'm sure contributed to the end of the RSPCA's relationship with that crude method.
Anonymous said…
This really is great news. It's about time they took note of public opinion and what with all the bad press they've been experiencing lately. I was so appauled when discovering that such a practice continued.

'No new scientific evidence' What about the countless well respected vets and welfare organisations that have been calling for the abolition of this method.

Next stop, the kk admitting they're wrong, vets educating insurance companies about vaccination progresses, a shortage of rescue dogs - is that a winged porcine I see - nice idea though.

Look forward to the story unfolding.

Queenie said…
This is wonderful news. We've spent months slogging to get this thing banned, can't believe they've actually suspended the use of it.
Nina Cole said…
Thank goodness. This is supposed to be a caring organisation working for the good of animal welfare! The RSPCA needs to restore public confidence and this is, at least, a start.
Queenie said…
Reading the statement again carefully, it's clear that the RSPCA are going to get 'expert opinions' on the use of the CBG, but it's not the gun that is the problem, a weapon is only as good as the operator, and if the RSPCA say that they are proficient in its use, then we are entitled to ask How? How many dogs suffered painful, frightening deaths to make the RSPCA proficient at killing?
In any case, no amount of expert opinion will wash with the public, who see this as a mediaeval weapon that has no place in 2010.
Anonymous said…
sad that so many animals had to die in this cruel way, and the RSPCA did not themselves actually think it cruel. Will it change I hope so, but I think this is them just spinning the PR and not a real change, and they will bring it back.
Anonymous said…
Don´t let´s dance round in circles yet. The RSPCA can so easily go through the motions of obtaining expert opinions on the use of the CBG, but who exactly will those `experts´ be.
This may be just a cruel way of getting joe public back on their side.
Don´t stop the campaigning everybody. New Government to be made aware and lobbied to ban the CBG.
bugs said…
Not before time.
cambstreasurer said…

Is it really such a good idea to try to destroy the credibility of the welfare organisation with the best chance of working to persuade governments overseas that there are alternatives?

The vast majority of dogs put down by the RSPCA were untreatably sick or injured and lethal injection was the method used. The captive bolt was used where an experienced inspector had assessed the situation and believed that it would be the method causing least distress to the animal.
Beverley Cuddy said…
But doesn't the use of Captive Bolt on dogs in this country make it very much harder for WSPA to educate the rest of the world as to how to deal with strays in a more humane manner?
I think stopping the use of the captive bolt here is the most positive thing we've heard from the RSPCA in a while. It was putting the charity in a very difficult position.
Lethal injection is the obvious method of choice - apart from cases such as traffic accidents etc where animals need to be quickly put out of their acute suffering and there's no vet nearby.
And I don't believe its a matter of training either. Dogs skulls vary so much breed to breed. What might be a clean kill on one dog might not be on another - and pithing must follow too to make sure the dog isn't just stunned.
It just is such a barbaric method for the human involved, never mind the dog.
No other species has so much variety than the dog. You'd have to kill so many dogs to be totally proficient in every head type.
Lethal injection is worth the extra money of calling a vet when there is no urgent, time-sensitive need to kill.
Cassie said…
It would be interesting to know the precise date when the RSPCA issued their statement. Was it before or after the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons advised the RSPCA that captive bolt guns are NOT suitable for the euthanasia of dogs? This advice was ratified by the RCVS Council on 3 June 2010.

The RCVS Advisory Committee was asked by the RSPCA to comment on a review of its Euthanasia Rules and Guidelines. The RCVS considered the use of captive bolt guns by some RSPCA inspectors, the way in which captive bolt guns work and their effectiveness and practicality for the purpose of carrying out euthanasia on dogs. The Committee decided that captive bolt guns were not suitable for the euthanasia of dogs. The Committee also felt that it should always be possible to call upon veterinary surgeons with access to appropriate medicines to euthanase smaller animals.

I trust that the reference to smaller animals means that cats and other small companion animals will not be destroyed by captive bolt guns because I note that the RSPCA's statement only refers to a suspension on the use of CBGs on dogs.

Now that the RCVS has ratified the unsuitability of the captive bolt gun for the euthanasia of dogs, does the RSPCA still intend to take this issue to an external review process? If so, will it be because it is attempting to justify its own actions by trying to prove that the CBG is a humane method of destroying companion animals? And if they can 'scientifically' prove this, will it mean the suspension will be lifted and the RSPCA will revert back to what most right-minded people believe is an abhorent method of killing sentient creatures?

In my view, the RSPCA should not be spending publicly donated money on an external review, it should instead be abiding by its own policies, principles and mandates -the ones on which it bases its Charitable status - the ones on which it persuades members of the general public to part with their hard-earned cash.
Anonymous said…
A 'welfer' organisation cannot stand up and say the rest of the world, there are better ways to do while continuing to use the worst.

I notice that when they try to justify the actions by stating 'the most humane way at that time' they do not go into detail. Descriptions of state of health, behaviour, perceived dangers to the dogs and inspectors. Without full disclosure it is just more cloak and dagger stuff.
So they really consider themselves a higher authority than the RCVS.
Cassie said…
In response to 'cambstreasurer', here are the RSPCA's own euthanasia figures for dogs from 2004 to 2009.

2004 - 7,025 dogs killed
1,282 were healthy

2005 - 6,716 dogs killed
1,043 were healthy

2006 - 6,998 dogs killed
1,012 were healthy

2007 - 7,506 dogs killed
1,250 were healthy

2008 - 8,313 dogs killed
1,595 were healthy

2009 - 8,116 dogs killed
no figures currenetly
available for
healthy dogs killed

Remember these are the figures for dogs alone. The numbers of cats destroyed each year are considerably higher, although the numbers of healthy cats destroyed are approx the same as for healthy dogs. As for the animals destroyed on medical grounds - how many of those were suffering from TREATABLE medical conditions?

How is it that smaller animal welfare charities, struggling to make ends meet, can operate a no-kill policy for healthy and treatable animals whilst the RSPCA, which received £119,926,000 income in 2008 and £129,251,000 in 2009 has yet to declare a similar no-kill policy?

Please note that the above £millions relate only to the RSPCA's Headquarters. The 170 branches are all independently registered charities, run mostly by hard-working volunteers who have to raise all their own funding and receive no financial assistance from HQ.
Cassie said…
For the record, it should also be noted that in 2006, the total number of animals destroyed by the RSPCA was recorded as 62,340. This included 2,410 healthy animals, the majority of which were dogs. i.e. 1,012 healthy dogs, 794 healthy cats and 604 healthy 'miscellaneous' animals. (Numbers of 'treatable' animals destroyed are never specified.)

However, in 2007, the RSPCA amended their 2006 figures to show that in fact 72,042 animals had been destroyed in 2006.

This is an increase of 9,702. How many of this increased number were healthy or treatable dogs?

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