The RSPCA has renewed its calls for improved welfare of all farm animals at the time of slaughter as the House of Lords prepares to debate the issue on Thursday (January 16, 2014).
More than 900 million farm animals are slaughtered for meat in the UK every year, the vast majority of which are stunned pre-slaughter.
However, the law permits the Jewish and Muslim communities to kill animals by religious methods without any pre-stunning.
Head of the RSPCA’s animal science department Julie Wrathall said: “Farm animals deserve to be treated with care and respect throughout their lives, from the time they are born right up to their final moments in the abattoir.
“We want to see animals rendered unconscious before slaughter.
“Until that time we are calling for clear labelling so shoppers are armed with information that can enable them to make an informed choice about whether they buy meat from animals that have not been stunned before slaughter.
“Until there is better, universal labelling, shoppers should look for the blue and white Freedom Food label.”
Meat produced under this RSPCA assurance scheme comes from animals inspected to the RSPCA’s farm animal welfare standards, which do not permit slaughter without pre-stunning.
The RSPCA works with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to publish the results of the FSA’s Animal Welfare Survey undertaken in abattoirs across Great Britain.
The latest survey results show:
- More than 40 million cattle, sheep, pigs and calves and around 900 million poultry are slaughtered each year in the UK;
- 3% of cattle, 10% of sheep and goats, and 4% of poultry in Great Britain are not stunned before slaughter; and
- Most animals slaughtered for the Halal market were stunned before slaughter. None of the animals slaughtered for the Kosher market were stunned before slaughter.