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BVA calls on Government to end non-stun slaughter following Parliamentary debate

British Veterinary Association | British Veterinary Association

3 min read Partner content

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has called for the Government to make ending of non-stun slaughter a priority, following a Parliamentary debate on an e-petition relating to ending non-stun slaughter to promote animal welfare that took place in Westminster Hall in Parliament this week.

The debate was well attended by MPs of all parties, including minister responsible George Eustice, responding for the Government, and opposition shadow minister Huw Irranca-Davies, speaking on behalf of the opposition, as well as chair of the EFRA select committee, Anne McIntosh.

John Blackwell, BVA President, commented:

“The Parliamentary debate on the subject of non-stun slaughter was well attended by MPs of all parties. MPs were considered and thoughtful in the way they consistently emphasized the welfare compromise of animals slaughtered without pre-stunning. It is now clear that the Government can no longer ignore the strength of feeling of MPs and the public on this issue. While the Government clearly agrees with the scientific evidence that slaughter without pre-stunning allows animals to feel pain and compromises animal welfare, it has yet to take any action to reduce the suffering of the animals involved. This delay to act in the face of overwhelming evidence is completely unacceptable.

“Many MPs of all parties at the debate agreed with BVA that if the Government continues to allow non-stun slaughter to continue then it must introduce clearer slaughter method labelling. While we know that more than 80% of Halal is pre-stunned, there is already more non-slaughter in percentage terms than the size of the Muslim and Jewish populations in the UK. This means that some of it must be going outside of the communities for which it was intended. Clearer labelling will not only give consumers a choice but will help ensure the number of animals slaughtered is limited to satisfy the needs of the religious communities concerned and thereby reduce the amount of non-stun slaughter.”

“MPs at the debate were also keen for the Government to consider measures that would better control volumes of meat required by religious communities. MPs highlighted the practice in Germany, where abattoirs have to prove the ‘religious’ needs and define the number of animals to be slaughtered for the communities concerned before being granted a licence. MPs also raised the option of introducing an immediate post-cut stun in order to reduce the suffering and pain of animals not stunned before slaughter.

“The BVA and our members have worked hard to push the issue of non-stun slaughter up the political agenda. As a result, there has never been more pressure on the Government to take action and improve the welfare of animals slaughtered without pre-stunning. Whether the Government will end non-stun completely or introduce measures to reduce the amount of animals slaughtered using this method, one thing is very clear, inaction is now no longer a credible option.”

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