Vets: Ban 'non-stun' slaughter of animals
Vets and the RSPCA have joined forces to call for an end to the practice of not stunning animals before they are slaughtered.
European and UK legislation requires all animals to be stunned before slaughter to render them insensible to pain.
However, a derogation in the legislation allows animals to be slaughtered without stunning for certain religious communities - Dhabihah slaughter for Halal food and Shechita slaughter for Kosher food.
British Veterinary Association(
BVA) said that over 80% of Halal slaughter in the UK is already pre-stunned and their campaign "does not relate to the expression of religious belief but to concern about animal welfare".
BVAhas launched a government epetition, with the support of the RSPCA, at
They hope to achieve 100,000 signatures to the epetition so that consideration will be given to a debate in the House of Commons.
Both groups say scientific evidence shows that slaughter without pre-stunning compromises animal welfare, a position supported by the Humane Slaughter Association, the Farm Animal Welfare Council, and the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe.
BVAsaid it is also concerned that meat from non-stun slaughter is entering the market unlabelled because there is no requirement to label meat and meat products with the method of slaughter.
At present the hindquarters of animals killed by the Shechita method are not Kosher and therefore enter the mainstream market unlabelled.
BVAPresident and veterinary surgeon Robin Hargreaves said:
BVAhas long believed that slaughter without pre-stunning unnecessarily compromise animal welfare at the time of death. It affects millions of animals every year and action is long overdue.
"When the issue hit the headlines recently we were overwhelmed by the letters of support from members of the public as well as our own members, so we hope to get a lot of support for our campaign."
David Bowles, RSPCA head of public affairs, said:
“We are supporting the
BVA’s petition calling for an end to non-stun slaughter because it is a practice that can cause suffering to millions of farm animals in the UK.
“We recognise that religious belief and practices should be respected but we also believe that animals should be slaughtered in the most humane way possible.
“Non-stun slaughter can result in the animals experiencing very significant pain and distress and that is why we feel more needs to be done to end this suffering.”
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