The announcement by the government that CCTV cameras are to be installed in slaughter houses will be greeted with cautious optimism by animal rights campaigners.

Does this ensure that animals destined for the dinner table can be assured of a pain-free and peaceful death? I hardly think so.

Many of the people shown on undercover footage committing shocking acts of gratuitously cruelty on these helpless animals will still be working in these places.

We all know that animals are not stupid, they also experience terror and pain and loneliness and discomfort.

They struggle to free themselves from the chains of captivity.

So many rules have been broken in the past, and are there not supposed to be vets to supervise slaughter houses?

Why have none of them reported these acts of gross brutality?

And what about halal slaughter as practised for religious reasons for some Muslims and Jews for whom our rules were relaxed?

Come to think of it I don’t seem to have heard any of our Christian leaders calling for stricter supervision in our slaughter houses!

Animals love life as we do and do not walk willingly and joyfully into the killing fields.

There is really only one way to avoid this terrible abuse of our fellow creatures and that is for people to go vegan/vegetarian and I am extremely encouraged by the huge number of people attending our local ‘vegfestivals’.

The one we attended in Portsmouth, which ran for two days, saw crowds which stretched all round the Guildhall Square and out into the neighbouring streets. All the stalls were well attended with loads of tasty dishes to try and loads of advice on how to cut out meat and dairy.

TV screen and magazines and newspapers all seem to be packed with glossy adds showing meaty meals, why no mention of vegetarian alternative?

An estimated ten per cent of the population of this country are estimated to be vegetarian or vegan.

Can the might meat and livestock market be fighting a losing battle?

Many of us will be settling down to a delicious Christmas dinner with all the trimmings happy in the knowledge that no animals have suffered to provide us with our festive feast.

Happy veggie/vegan Christmas.

Helen Nelson