The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has called on the Welsh Government to end talks with a company that has been approved to deliver non-stun slaughter at an abattoir in Wales.
She stated the Welsh Government was “in dialogue with a private company regarding job creation at an abattoir in Caernarfon”.
The veterinary group is now concerned the Government is considering using public money to support the company, without prioritising animals’ welfare, and the damage done to the image and reputation of the Welsh meat industry if it knowingly supports a company that doesn’t stun before killing.
Law in Wales requires animals to be stunned before slaughter; however, exemptions exist for animals killed for certain communities. In its correspondence with the BVA, the Government failed to give details of the species or throughput in the abattoir.
Without this, a proper assessment cannot be made about how much meat is being used for religious practice or how much is entering into the consumer food chain.
The BVA had asked how the Welsh Government proposes to implement the requirement meat derived from animals that weren’t killed before stunning only goes to the religious communities to which the non-stun derogation applies; however, the group claims this question was ignored.
Rob Davies, president of the BVA Welsh Branch, said: “The Welsh Government has failed to answer questions about whether it is willing to give financial support to a company that undertakes and promotes non-stun killing as a marketing tool. It seems animal welfare is not a concern for the deputy minister in this particular discussion.”
John Blackwell, president of the BVA, said: “The BVA advocates all animals that enter an abattoir be stunned before being killed – this view is based on scientific evidence that shows non-stun slaughter allows animals to perceive pain.
“Concern about welfare of animals at slaughter is a priority not only for our members, but also the public, with the BVA’s HM Government e-petition reaching more than 95,000 signatures. This is a clear signal the Welsh Government is out of touch with the public on this issue. It must align its policies with animal welfare concerns and public opinion today.”
Mr Davies said: “The BVA calls on the Welsh Government to state clearly it will not spend public money on abattoirs that don’t stun animals before killing them – either now or at any time in the future.
“The BVA supports the Welsh farming industry, which is the backbone of the rural economy. I would appeal to Welsh farmers to consider the damage done to the image and reputation of Welsh meat if they knowingly take or send animals to an abattoir that doesn’t stun before killing, whether a local abattoir or a distant one. Welsh meat must be welfare-friendly from birth to slaughter.”
The BVA’s e-petition to end non-stun slaughter reached more than 99,000, but must secure 100,000 to be considered for parliamentary debate. For more information, or to sign the e-petition, visit http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/64331