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Increase in halal slaughter a ‘major welfare issue’ say vets

Increase in halal slaughter a ‘major welfare issue’ say vets

United Kingdom (UK)
News Date: 
Sharia Watch

Animal welfare standards are being unnecessarily lowered by a sharp rise in the slaughter of unstunned animals, say vets. The British Veterinary Association (BVA) said the increase over just two years in the number of animals having their throats cut without first being stunned was of grave concern and was a major welfare issue. Slaughter without stunning for religious purposes, known as halal, was first allowed in the UK in 2013 after the EU adopted legislation permitting it. See also: 

In 2013, just 15% of sheep and goats slaughtered were not stunned first, But this rose to almost a quarter (24.4%) of slaughterings between April and June this year, according to the latest figures from the Food Standards Agency. The increase for poultry has been even steeper; soaring from 3% in 2013 to 18.5% in 2017.

BVA president Gudrun Ravetz said: “This huge increase in the number of sheep, goats and poultry that are not stunned or not stunned effectively before slaughter is a grave concern to our profession.” In July, Defra secretary Michael Gove made increasing animal welfare standards central to his vision for future farm policy and announced the government would make CCTV mandatory in abattoirs seeing the UK become a global leader in welfare standards.

But Mr Ravetz said the number of halal slaughters has outstripped demand from the religious sector and is being sold to the general public unlabelled. In 2011, the 4.6% of the UK population who identified as Muslim accounted for 24% of lamb and 16% of domestic mutton consumption, according to the AHDB. AHDB has predicted this to have increased in the years since and announced in July that it proposed to introduce an assurance mark for halal products to support this important sector for lamb producers.