The regulation of methods of slaughter of animals for food is predicated on a public policy of minimising the suffering of animals – slaughtering should be humane and cause the least suffering and pain possible. For this reason pre-stunning is mandated by law. However, at present legal exemption is given for slaughter for religious reasons to provide kosher and halal meat. This is despite the Government’s acceptance that this method causes significant pain and distress.
In addition, meat from animals slaughtered without pre-stunning enters the general market, with no labelling to identify it.
Following successful petitions, Westminster has debated non-stun slaughter several times. During the most recent discussion it was revealed that the number of religiously slaughtered animals is currently more than is required for Muslim and Jewish communities to consume. It is therefore important that, whatever one’s views on slaughter, all meat products be correctly labelled so that consumers can make an informed choice.
Key questions for the Government remain: Does it believe all animals should be stunned before slaughter on welfare grounds? Why is non-stunned meat allowed to go outside the communities for which it was intended? Will the Government consider the introduction of compulsory labelling? Will they consider an approach whereby abattoirs estimate the number of animals that need to be slaughtered to satisfy local religious need before they are granted a licence to do such?Please email your MP and ask them to act on our concerns.
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