An online petition calling on the Government to end non-stun slaughter has been launched by the BVA, supported by the RSPCA.
However, a derogation in the legislation allows animals to be slaughtered without stunning for certain religious communities – Shechita slaughter for kosher food and Dhabihah slaughter for halal food, although more than more than 80 per cent of halal slaughter in the UK is of pre-stunned animals.
BVA hopes to achieve 100,000 signatures to the epetition so that consideration will be given to a debate in the House of Commons.
It says scientific evidence shows 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
BVA 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. The hindquarters of animals killed by the Shechita method are not kosher and therefore enter the mainstream market unlabelled.
With animal welfare high on the list of UK consumer concerns, BVA and RSPCA are calling for clearer labelling so people can make an informed choice.
Launching the epetition, BVA president and veterinary surgeon Robin Hargreaves said: “BVA has long believed 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.”
RSPCA head of public affairs David Bowles said it was supporting the petition because non-stun slaughter caused suffering to millions of farm animals in the UK.
“We recognise religious belief and practices should be respected, but we also believe that animals should be slaughtered in the most humane way possible,” he said,
“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.”
To sign the petition, go to the online petition page. New Link