Growth in slaughter of non-stunned animals is 'unacceptable'
Jeremy Laurance is Health Editor of The Independent and the i and has covered the specialism for more than 20 years. He thinks the harm medicine does is under-appreciated, the harm it prevents over-rated, and that cycling works better than most drugs. He was named Specialist Journalist of the Year in the 2011 British Press Awards.
Saturday 05 May 2012
A former president of the British Veterinary Association claims that meat producers have increased the number of animals slaughtered according to religious principles, without prior stunning, because it is commercially advantageous for them to do so.
Professor Bill Reilly, a consultant in veterinary public health and former chairman of the UK Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food, said the growth in the slaughter of animals which had not been stunned was "unacceptable" and should be curbed, if not banned.
Citing reports by the Farm Animal Welfare Council and EU-funded Dialrel Project, he said films posted on YouTube "clearly demonstrate the pain and distress of obviously still sentient animals after non-stun slaughter".
Although UK and EU legislation allows for the slitting of animals' throats without prior stunning to enable Muslims and Jews to meet the dietary requirements of their faiths, the rapid increase in the production of halal meat in particular now greatly exceeds the proportion of Muslims in the UK population. The halal share of the UK meat market has grown from 11 per cent in 2001 to 25 per cent today, he said. The Muslim population is estimated at 4.6 per cent.
Writing in Veterinary Record, Professor Reilly said: "Why has there been this growth in demand for halal meat and the proportion that is from non-stunned animals? There may be operational advantages for an abattoir if stunning is not carried out. Other commercial drivers include the convenience of not offering a Halal processing line."
Professor Reilly said Britain was a tolerant society and his complaint had "nothing to do with" the expression of religious belief. "The challenge to society is to enable religious slaughter without compromising animal suffering." That meant reducing to a minimum the number of animals killed without pre-stunning.
Dr Shuja Shafi, deputy general-secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain, said there had been a "lot of confusion" over Halal meat, which may be stunned before slaughter and still be labelled Halal. "Over 90 per cent of Halal meat is stunned before slaughter," he said.
Have shock jocks gone too far?
Former Google exec says he has 100,000 emails showing how 'immoral' company avoids paying UK tax
Notes from a small island: Is Sealand an independent 'micronation' or an illegal fortress?
British man confesses to slitting two children's throats in Lyon flat
'Swivel-gate': David Cameron goes to war with the press over 'swivel-eyed loons' slur
- 1 Asteroid nine times the size of the QE2 liner to sail pass Earth
- 2 Notes from a small island: Is Sealand an independent 'micronation' or an illegal fortress?
- 3 British business: We need to stay in the EU - or risk losing up to £92bn a year
- 4 You thought Ryanair's attendants had it bad? Wait 'til you hear about their pilots
- 5 It’s official: thanks to Stephen Hawking's Israel boycott, anti-Semitism is no more
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.
Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: This is a senior appointment with huge potent...
£28000 - £31500 per annum + benefits: Randstad Education Newcastle: Permanent ...
£50000 - £58000 per annum + Benefits and Bonus: Progressive Recruitment: SAP F...
£30000 - £40000 per annum + BENS: Progressive Recruitment: Drupal Developer A ...