Veganapanda's Blog

CCTV in Slaughterhouses?!

Posted on: October 22, 2010

I received a letter from Animal Aid (I did not ask for their post!)  & when I opened it, what I found within was very distressing indeed!

Here’s a quote from the postcards I received (I’m supposed to be sending them off!);

“The government’s own Food Standard Agency, as well as the RSPCA, Compassion in World Farming and the Soil Association, have seen our footage and now support our call for CCTV cameras to be installed in every British slaughterhouse, in order to combat the cruelty and enforce the law. You and the other supermarkets, as the meat industry’s major customers, can make this happen by only buying meat from animals who have been killed in slaughterhouses fitted with CCTV.”

(The bold wording in the quote is exactly how it is on the postcards I took the quote from.)

I decided to complain (I do that often!) directly to Animal Aid about their welfarist ‘happy meat’ posts going to everyone, by phoning the number on the leaflet they sent me. Finally someone answered the phone, I told him exactly why the Animal Aid leaflets & postcards on CCTV in slaughterhouses was wrong & playing right into the hands of the animal enslavers/users, he stuttered a lot & told me “I can’t deal with your problem as I’m merchandising”. Apart from me saying an awful lot more, I also asked him that as he worked for Animal Aid did he agree with this campaign, not surprisingly he refused to answer & promptly put me through to someone else!

This time a female answered the phone. I repeated my disgust at Animal Aid’s CCTV campaign & also explained that animals are our equals & should not be enslaved at all. I asked if she agreed with the campaign & surprisingly she said “No”, I asked her if she had let other staff at Animal Aid know how she felt & she said “No I have not, it’s better if someone from the outside lets them know”, I told her that it’s definitely good to for her to use her advantage of being on the inside… she sadly didn’t agree 😦

Then she asked if I wanted the head of the campaign to phone me. I asked her if there would be any point (would she just try to sell the campaign to me) but also that I will be writing an anti Animal Aid blog & email Animal Aid about not only this campaign but also let her know that I personally know the Director Andrew Tyler & have previously aired my views to his face, he had told me that he agreed with PeTA’s anti pit bull policy (gah!). I let her know that I’m 100% against Animal Aid & that they’re no different to PeTA, CIWF, RSPCA, and other big ‘animal’ groups

Here are links to Animal Aids website & their  CCTV in Slaughterhouses campaign, so that you can see what I mean…

http://animalaid.org.uk/h/n/NEWS/news_slaughter//2373//

http://animalaid.org.uk/h/n/CAMPAIGNS/slaughter/ALL///

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14 Responses to "CCTV in Slaughterhouses?!"

THANK YOU for writing this! I heard about this campaign a couple of days ago when someone posted a link to a Facebook page that’s been set up to gather support for the campaign. Three days later, I am still stewing over it. I posted it about it on FB and Twitter. This is just another classic example of how welfarist groups are detracting from the the issue at stake, i.e. the property status (and resulting exploitation by humans) of nonhuman animals. Instead, these groups are wasting time and energy with nonsensical campaigns that send completely the wrong message. All because they think the general public is too stupid or too inept to understand why the exploitation of animals is a matter of justice and fairness. Nonsense!

Thanks Kerry, I felt I just had to write this blog…
After I received the dreadful Animal Aid post & was beside myself with anger & frustration, I was even worse after the phone calls I made to them!

Below are their contact details; it’s important that serious animal advocates contact Animal Aid & let them know that not only is their ‘CCTV in Slaughterhouses’ campaign wrong, but also that nothing less than Veganism is what their campaigns should be.

Email: info@animalaid.org.uk

Address:
The Old Chapel
Bradford Street
Tonbridge
Kent TN9 1AW

Phone: +44 (0)1732 364546

Fax: +44 (0)1732 366533

Great blog =) Our local group (Grampian Animal Rights Advocates) in Aberdeen used to use a lot of Animal Aid material but as we started transitioning towards a complete abolitionist approach we got rid of them. We then discovered this ridiculous campaign, amongst others and one of our members had a lengthy e-mail discussion with someone high up in the org. Unsurprisingly they could not give any clear reason WHY they did these stupid campaigns and basically ended with “we will have to agree to disagree”. It’s obvious that they just have to keep doing these easy win campaigns to maintain and increase their membership donations. When an org becomes a business you know the movement is in trouble.

It is sad to see so many UK groups using Animal Aid stuff, they definitely have a monopoly on animal “rights” material here, kinda like PETA does in the US!

I will definitely be contacting them and getting everyone in our local group to do so too! =)

Thanks Ross, you must let me know if you get any luck from contacting Animal Aid (not holding my breath though!). You’re very right when you said “When an org becomes a business you know the movement is in trouble”.

The only Animal group I like is Animal Equality, they spread Vegan Education 🙂

How can a self-proclaimed “animal rights” group encourage others to eat the flesh of other animals? Animal Aid has no credibility.

I encourage everyone to do as I did and start your own grassroots group. Be an anti-speciesist and join the abolitionist movement. No compromise!

Hi Brandon, I remember you from Facebook 🙂

I think the ‘Animal Rights’ groups that are money driven, they’ll do anything to get that money, the animals are not even in their minds (they’ll never admit that!). There’s nothing right & everything wrong about that!!

I will definitely get in touch with Animal Aid. Will have to do so by email, as I moved abroad a few years ago.

Great comments from Ross and Brandon.

I am still on the fence about Animal Equality, to be honest – their website could make veganism a lot more prominent. After all the “Donate” button is extremely prominent on their site, which is rather off-putting. Also, although I respect that they are public about their open rescues, I don’t think I agree with them – for the same reasons Gary Francione disagrees with them: they seem a tad ego-driven, to be honest, and very heavy on promoting and gathering support/donations for the group itself rather than encouraging others to be active themselves. Also, while I do think it’s braved of them to be public about their open rescues and risk arrest, surely it’s not very constructive in the long run to have a group whose members are constantly risking jail. It takes good activists off the street, for starters; and we don’t need to break laws to do vegan education. I am not implying that laws or property are sacrosanct at all – but why alienate the public (all those potential future vegans) when we can promote veganism without any big public actions such as breaking into buildings in highly publicised actions? Sounds a bit PeTA-like to me. My comments are directed at the Spanish group. Not sure what the UK group is like.

I totally get what you are saying Kerry, the main reason I like them (I don’t donate) is they are the only group I know who spread Vegan Education, which of course is very important! As I know the guy who started the UK branch of Animal Equality, I will put some of your negatives about them…
After all, if a group is going to take the name of an already established group, they at first need to know what the name stands for, eg is it peaceful? Because anyone can think up a name, it’s actions that count!

Kerry, regarding the open rescue actions of Animal Equality/Igualdad Animal, I recommend reading Jose Valle’s reply to Gary Francione:

Gary Francione’s comment-
http://beta.twitlonger.com/show/117226629482a40b1a8c5ad0179fd789

Jose Valle’s reply to Francione-
http://beta.twitlonger.com/show/a3n38

Hi Brandon,
Thanks, yes, I followed José’s and Gary’s exchange back in February.
Kerry

This is the email that I sent to Animal Aid:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I am sending this email because I’m passionate about the content & would think you would have the same response, I hope that the appropriate person/people read it & that I get a reply too.

I recently received a letter from Animal Aid and when I opened it, what I found within was very distressing indeed! There was a leaflet asking for donations & some postcards that I am supposed to send to the head of Tescos. Here is the main quote from the postcards with the very same bold writing, I was completely shocked and angry about it & the whole campaign.

“The government’s own Food Standard Agency, as well as the RSPCA, Compassion in World Farming and the Soil Association, have seen our footage and now support our call for CCTV cameras to be installed in every British slaughterhouse, in order to combat the cruelty and enforce the law. You and the other supermarkets, as the meat industry’s major customers, can make this happen by only buying meat from animals who have been killed in slaughterhouses fitted with CCTV.”

I know I am not the only person who’s fuming at this campaign, plus the direction that Animal Aid has taken in the last few years. Firstly I would say that it’s absolutely disgusting to take the welfare rather than the rights direction, that animals CAN be killed as long as they’re treated well, it is shocking!!

I phoned Animal Aid on the 21st just after I received the CCTV in Slaughterhouses campaign material, because I just had to complain. I had noticed the phone number on the leaflet and thought it the appropriate contact number for my complaint, a man answered the phone and I told him exactly how I felt, he told me that I was through to merchandising & he could put me through to the ‘CCTV’ campaign dept. Before he put me through I asked him what his opinion was but he told me he couldn’t say (weird!), I told him I think it’s terrible that he’s with a company that makes him feel like he can’t have his own opinions. He then put me through to the campaign department and a girl answered, I repeated my utter disgust at the ‘CCTV’ campaign. She listened but told me the main campaign woman Kate would be the correct person to talk to & that she was out of the office, she asked if I wanted her to call me back, I said there was no point me being passed around like that & asked her what her own opinion was on what I had said. Surprisingly she totally agreed with me, I told her I was pleased but had she or will she let Animal Aid staff know her feelings? She said that it was best coming from the public (what a cop out!) which spurred me on to writing this email, I have also written a whole blog on the way Animal Aid is now a mainstream welfare group, including the awful CCTV campaign.

I would like to know whether Animal Aid will realise that by running completely welfare driven campaigns, that it makes the non vegan public feel much better about eating the ‘happy’ animals?!

I look forward to your reply.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Today I recieved a typical response from Kate at Animal Aid:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Thank you for your email – I will try to explain our position and reasoning behind this campaign.

Animal Aid is a vegan organisation – we are staffed by vegans and we are passionate about ending animal suffering. The purpose of our undercover investigation inside slaughterhouses was to show the world the shocking cruelty animals must endure when people choose to eat meat. And – as a result – we have had many, many people contact us to tell us that they won’t eat meat again.

In all our communications – press releases, interviews, leaflets, reports, films etc – we state overtly that ‘humane slaughter’ is a myth and the only way to protect animals is to stop eating them. We never say that it is OK to eat animals. Never. Because it isn’t. And we spend a lot of time investigating and exposing schemes like Freedom Food to show that supposed ‘higher welfare’ schemes are every bit as appalling as intensive schemes. Two of the slaughterhouses we investigated were accredited by Soil Association, which has the highest welfare standards on paper, and we showed that these animals were still treated appallingly.

There are ‘animal protection’ groups who say that there are ‘kind’ ways to rear animals for meat but Animal Aid is certainly not one of them. We state explicitly that even if all our recommendations were implemented (including CCTV), animals would continue to suffer terribly in slaughterhouses and that is why a diet free from animal products is the only compassionate option.

The reasoning behind calling for CCTV is that our films found much vicious and sadistic behaviour, which was not being picked up by the vets on site. It is bad enough that animals are in that place with their lives about to be taken from them but being deliberately kicked in the head, beaten and goaded, or having a sadist send powerful electric shocks through their mouths for fun – these are abuses that can be stopped. CCTV won’t make slaughter OK, but who wouldn’t want to end these vicious beatings? Who wouldn’t want to spare the animals that additional pain? One of our main reasons for wanting CCTV is because it will provide evidence for prosecutions. Since Defra won’t use the evidence that we provided and vets don’t see what is going on (for many reasons), cameras can do this.

This campaign is akin to our demand that whips are not used in horse racing. We want to see an end to horse racing and we will continue to state that explicitly and campaign towards that end, but if we can stop the use of whips, then we remove one level of suffering. And if we achieve that aim, the campaign will continue.

The CCTV campaign is just one strand of the slaughterhouse campaign. The major thrust is to get people to see the films and accept that, if they eat meat, they are causing this suffering. That is why we work hard to get national media and to encourage people to stop supporting the trade by changing their own diets. Then, we will see a reduction in animals killed. And – like you – I long for the day when animals are free from all exploitation.

I am surprised that you say that Animal Aid has become welfarist in the past few years. Since Andrew Tyler became director, Animal Aid has actually moved away from welfarist perspectives. I believe we are the last national group that still says we are proud to be ‘animal rights’ – other groups have distanced themselves from grassroots campaigners and the phrase ‘animal rights’. It was Animal Aid that launched Vegan Month to try to bring a truly compassionate diet into the mainstream and we are the only organisation in the UK to have conducted an Open Liberation.

I have worked at two other organisations in the past and I can assure you that Animal Aid is by far the most democratic. All members of staff are consulted on all aspects of our work at weekly meetings. And we have robust discussions and debates about everything from leaflet design to campaign initiatives.

Thank you again for contacting us, and for supporting our work in the past. If you don’t feel able to in the future, that would be a shame but, of course, I respect your views.
Kind regards,

Kate Fowler
Head of Campaigns
Animal Aid

01732 364546 ex 236
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I will keep you all informed regarding my contact with Animal Aid, I’ll definitely be answering Kate’s email to me!

My reply to Kate Fowler

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You talk about animal “suffering” and “the shocking cruelty animals must endure when people choose to eat meat.” Firstly that is the MAIN thing wrong with almost all animal organisations, they don’t educate first and foremost about Veganism. The main language used is the language you have used in this campaign and most others, to make those who enslave, consume, wear or use in anyway feel that animals will be or already are well cared for. This means much less or no guilt for the animal using public, I’ve experienced just that in my own life during the last month, as my niece (a long-term Vegan) has now gone back to vegetarianism, because she told me “the animals are cared for much better now” and the ‘evidence’ she gave me was that the animal welfare laws are much stricter now!

You said “We never say that it is OK to eat animals. Never.” is that right?! If so, why did your campaign material say that Animal Aid want supermarket buyers to only “buy meat from animals who have been killed in slaughterhouses fitted with CCTV.”?!

Total hypocrisy that definitely can’t be called Veganism at all, vegan education is very important & getting people to realise that ALL animals are sentient beings (human or nonhuman) and all deserve the same freedoms.

I know why Animal Aid continue promoting animal welfarism, it’s the way they get the most donations… money talks!!!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Kates reply to me….

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Donations have nothing to do with it, I can assure you. We follow our hearts and those who support us, donate. Those who don’t are free to give money elsewhere. We are not bought, nor are we driven by money.

Today, we have a trailer in Nottingham (which will travel the country over the coming weeks) educating people about veganism. That’s what we do. We are also sponsoring a number of vegan fairs and festivals this month. Are there any other groups who do as much vegan outreach as Animal Aid?

The welfare laws have not changed for many years so your niece is misinformed. And the number of exposes of ‘higher welfare’ farming schemes have increased, so going back to vegetarianism sounds like an excuse.

Sadly, the postcard text you cite was generated outside of the campaigns dept and it wasn’t picked up until after printing. We will not be repeating that text again. However, it does not say that it is OK to eat animals. It isn’t. To repeat: Animal Aid is a vegan organisation. We promote veganism at every opportunity.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I obviously was not going to leave it there!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Isn’t it strange that you say “Donations have nothing to do with it”, when the Animal Aid letter myself (and thousands of others) have received have those very postcards, along with a huge donations form that it was impossible to miss!

All I have received from yourself and other Animal Aid staff are excuses, the very same responses I got from PeTA.

The more Vegans who wake up to Abolitionist Veganism and ditch welfarism, the better for the animals who need us to free them from slavery/use and the less the use for animal welfare campaigns and organisations…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Kate replied…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Do you really think that we can campaign without donations? I was clearly responding to your accusation that we choose to campaign on issues because they yield large donations, which is just not true.

I respect your view and wish you lots of luck campaigning for a better world in the way you see fit. Animal Aid’s aims are the same as yours and we welcome all proactive initiatives and campaigns that move society toward those ends.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And of course I replied (I’m stubborn!)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Isn’t it strange that you say “Donations have nothing to do with it”, when the Animal Aid letter myself (and thousands of others) have received have those very postcards, along with a huge donations form that it was impossible to miss!

All I have received from yourself and other Animal Aid staff are excuses, the very same responses I got from PeTA.

The more Vegans who wake up to Abolitionist Veganism and ditch welfarism, the better for the animals who need us to free them from slavery/use and the less the use for animal welfare campaigns and organisations…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I will keep everyone informed of any other contact I’ve received from Animal Aid, as and when I receive it…. Not that I think they’ll change from being an animal welfare org any time soon, at least untill they’re bombarded with Abolitionist Vegan contact for them to change!!

I used to know Kate – she used to be a hunt sab, then worked for Viva!
Very decent person. However, clearly I disagree with her pov. She states that Animal Aid has moved away from welfarist campaigns and is proud to call itself an animal rights organization, and that they do not condone the slaughter of nonhumans, but a CCTV campaign in slaughterhouses clearly gives the impression that some slaughterhouses are okay and others aren’t. I am certain that they do not think that, but that is precisely how the general public will interpret it. And they will pat themselves on the back and think they’re “conscientious omnivores” because the meat they bought was from a slaughterhouse where animals didn’t get kicked in the face.

Focusing on treatment is distracting us away from campaigning against use, and we should be putting all of our energy into questioning the use of nonhumans in the first place. I suspect that a lot of groups think it’s “too hard” or “unrealistic” and that they should adopt the “baby steps” approach. And that’s the problem. It is abundantly clear that the “incremental approach” and the focus on treatment will NEVER bring about animal emancipation.

I totally agree with you that the “baby steps” approach that Animal orgs use will never work for the animals. It’s more about all animal welfare groups; Animal Aid, PeTA, WWF, RSPCA, etc promoting welfarism to get those donations keep pouring in… they care not that they’re working AGAINST the abolition of the enslavement &/or use of nonhuman animals!

I was absolutely gobsmacked that Kate had the cheek to say “We never say that it is OK to eat animals. Never.” When it’s in black & white on their very postcards “…only buying meat from animals who have been killed in slaughterhouses fitted with CCTV.”

I am not surprised though, my contact with Animal Aid is VERY similar to the contact I had with PeTA, they & all the other big animal orgs will do anything to carry on their disgusting (money making) campaigns, grrr!

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Non-violent Pro-life Drug-free Abolitionist Vegan, who cares about the Earth & ALL who live here. All drugs should be legalised & be viewed for what they are... drugs, including alcohol, tobacco & pharmaceuticals. I'm also Atheist & will never accept organised religion.

"But if you dig on Vegan food,
Well come over to my work,
I'll have them cook you something that you'll really love,
Cause I like you,
Yeah, I like you,
And I'm feeling so Bohemian like you"

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