The British Veterinary Association is calling on the Government to end non-stun slaughter on the day of a Parliamentary debate on its e-petition, which has now achieved more than 115,000 signatures.

The BVA wants an end to non-stun slaughter for all animals, without exception. Image ©

The association’s e-petition reached 100,000 signatures – the number required to trigger a parliamentary debate – on January 29, and will be debated at the Palace of Westminster at 4:30pm today (February 23, 2015).

The BVA, supported by the RSPCA, is calling for an end to slaughter without pre-stunning for all animals – without exception – because scientific evidence shows that slaughter without pre-stunning allows animals to feel pain and compromises animal welfare.

BVA president John Blackwell said: “BVA’s e-petition to end non-stun slaughter now has more than 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.”

My Blackwell was keen to clarify that the BVA’s stance was in respect of animal welfare only, not religious belief.

He said: “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 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.

In the interim, while non-stun slaughter continues, the e-petition also calls for clearer slaughter-method labelling and post-cut stunning to improve the welfare of animals that are not pre-stunned.

Mr Blackwell concluded: “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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