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Govt urged to end non-stun slaughter

British Veterinary Association | British Veterinary Association

3 min read Partner content

The British Veterinary Association, supported by the RSPCA, has called on the Government to end non-stun slaughter.

This follows a Parliamentary debate on the issue yesterday, which was prompted by an e-petition on ending non-stun slaughter to promote animal welfare.

The e-petition, submitted by BVA, had reached 100,000 signatures by 29th January and is currently on more than 115,000, indicating the strength of public feeling.  

It calls for an end to slaughter without pre-stunning for all animals, without exception.

BVA launched the Parliamentary e-petitionon the back of scientific evidence which found that slaughter without pre-stunning causes animals to feel pain and compromises animal welfare.

The evidence includes the EU-funded Dialrel project that ran for four years up until 2010 and concluded that it could “be stated with high probability that animals feel pain during and after the throat cut without prior stunning.”

It is a position supported by the Humane Slaughter Association, the Farm Animal Welfare Council, and the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe.

BVA notes that more than 80% of Halal meat is stunned before slaughter and is keen to stress that its concern does not relate to religious belief.

Commenting, BVA President John Blackwell said:

“BVA’s e-petition to end non-stun slaughter now has over 115,000 signatures and clearly shows the strength of feeling about animal welfare at slaughter. BVA has long argued that all animals should be stunned before slaughter to render them insensible to pain and we are pleased that the British public has got so firmly behind our campaign, which is based on scientific evidence.

“For BVA and our members, this is a matter of animal welfare at slaughter, plain and simple. We have never – nor would we – argue against religious slaughter. We categorically refute any suggestion that this is an anti-Muslim or anti-Jewish campaign. We acknowledge that over 80% of animals slaughtered for halal meat are pre-stunned before slaughter. We have met with, and are keen to continue our positive discussions with, representatives of the halal and kosher meat industry to explore where we can work together to improve animal welfare at slaughter.

“BVA finds abuse of animals in any slaughterhouses unacceptable. We would expect for these abuses to be thoroughly investigated and appropriate action taken by the competent authority. We also point out that recent undercover films of animal abuse in slaughterhouses would warrant sanctions under current welfare legislation irrespective of whether they occurred in an abattoir implementing stunning or non-stun prior to slaughter.

“From pre-birth to slaughter, vets play an active role in not only preventing suffering but actively providing for the welfare needs of all animals. The veterinary profession is not complacent. We consistently lobby Government to ensure existing legislation is enforced effectively. We have and will always work to improve the welfare of animals at all stages of their lifecycle.

“BVA is calling on the Government to have a consistent approach to animal welfare legislation. How can the Government on the one hand pride itself and champion the UK on having some of the world’s highest animal welfare standards, but on the other undermine this by allowing slaughter without stunning to continue? It is clear from the scientific evidence that the welfare of animals is improved by effective stunning at slaughter but we can’t enforce a piece of legislation that does not exist. This is why we call on the Government to make legislative change now and end non stun-slaughter immediately.”

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