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WSPA supporters prompt action on reindeer cruelty

Feb 18, 2011

In December 2010, WSPA released a video that exposed the suffering inflicted on hundreds of reindeer as they are rounded up, transported and slaughtered for their meat in Sweden and Finland. Shortly after, more than 65,000 WSPA supporters from around the world signed a petition calling for an immediate and permanent end to this cruelty.

Thanks to you, the Swedish and Finnish authorities are now paying attention to this issue.

"The massive reaction from those who viewed WSPA’s footage led to support from the political, scientific and welfare sectors," said Roger Petterson, WSPA’s Sweden Country Director. "However, we can’t stop now – the more signatures we can present, the more likely that concrete action will have to be taken."

Gaining Scientific and Political Support

Several experts and scientists have supported WSPA’s criticism of the poor handling, transportation and slaughter methods documented in the video. For example, the scientists at the University of Uppsala are now seeking to conduct a further study, which should lead to an animal welfare program for reindeer in Sweden.

As for the political sector, in his communications to WSPA, Sweden’s Minister for Rural Affairs Eskil Erlandsson reiterated that the use of slaughter methods that are against Swedish welfare law is unacceptable. He welcomed further debate about reindeer welfare and stated that Sweden would continue to work for better animal welfare, both domestically and regionally.

Additionally, a representative of the County Administrative Board of Norrbotten – an area where much of the footage was filmed – agreed that transport causes unnecessary stress and suffering for the animals. The representative also reiterated to reindeer owners that slaughtering reindeer using a knife to the neck, with no prior stunning (as seen in WSPA’s video footage) is a cruel slaughter practice and contrary to Swedish animal welfare law. The National Union of the Swedish Sami People has said the method will be suppressed immediately.

Next Steps to End Reindeer Suffering

Petterson has been in extensive talks with the Swedish Ministry for Rural Affairs, and is in the process of securing a meeting with the Nordic Council of Ministers to discuss this issue.

"The entry of commercial players has taken what was an exclusive right for the Sami population, and turned it into an industry where operators are in violation of existing legislation. It cannot be allowed to continue in this way, and I am hopeful that we can make progress to change the situation of the reindeer for the better."

If you haven’t done so already, you can still take action to help end the suffering. The more signatures we have, the more likely that the authorities will be forced to take action. Write to the Nordic Council of Ministers today!

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