Slaughter without pre-stunning can cause suffering to millions of farm animals in the UK. We are opposed to this practice and have supported an HM Government petition by the British Veterinary Association calling for an end to non-stun slaughter once and for all.
The petition achieved over 118,000 signatures and was debated by Parliament in February 2015.
Slaughter without pre-stunning causes suffering
Scientific evidence clearly shows that slaughter without pre-stunning is an important animal welfare concern.
In 2003, the government’s independent advisory body, the Farm Animal Welfare Council stated that non-stun slaughter results in ‘very significant pain and distress’.
Therefore, this practice puts the millions of farm animals killed without pre-stunning at risk of serious suffering.
We must introduce a full ban
European and UK legislation requires all animals to be pre-stunned before slaughter to render them unconscious until death supervenes.
However, exemptions are allowed which permit non-stun slaughter for religious purposes e.g. for Muslim and Jewish communities.
However, if the UK governments were to ban completely slaughter without pre-stunning we wouldn’t be the first country to take such a stand against this practice.
Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland have all introduced legislation making pre-stunning a requirement before slaughter with no exceptions. A move that helps protect the welfare of millions of farm animals.
Our concern is animal welfare
We recognise that religious beliefs and practices should be respected. However, we also believe animals should be slaughtered under the most humane conditions possible.
Our concern does not relate to the expression of religious belief but to the animal welfare compromise associated with the practice of killing by throat cutting without pre-stunning. In fact, over 80 per cent of Halal slaughter, the method used by the Muslim religion, is pre-stunned in the UK.
The Halal Food Authority has a clear ‘no stunning to kill policy’, which means pre-stunning is permitted when the stun is used only used to make the animal unconscious and not to kill them. This highlights that pre-stunning and slaughter for religious purposes can work together.
We’re supporting Slaughterhouse Reform’s Change.org petition calling for compulsory animal welfare labelling including method of slaughter.
Find out more on our #StunB4slaughter campaign page and join us in speaking out for millions of farm animals!
Eloise Shavelar, RSPCA Campaigner
(Updated: 11 December 2015)