UNITED KINGDOM, London. The RSPCA and the British Veterinary Association have joined forces to call on the UK Government to repeal a legal exemption that permits animals to be slaughtered without pre-stunning, causing unnecessary pain and suffering.
Until there is a change in the law to end non-stun slaughter, there are several measures the UK Government could introduce to reduce the suffering involved in this practice.
The latest figures from 2017/18 reveal that over 120 mill. animals were slaughtered without being stunned first - more than three animals slaughtered every second on average.
In an open letter to Environment Secretary Michael Gove, the BVA and the RSPCA urge the UK Government to change legislation in England which currently allows non-stun slaughter for religious purposes, and provide further public transparency on this issue by releasing the comprehensive 2018 slaughter survey results, which were originally due for release Autumn 2018.
Until such legislation is in place the RSPCA and BVA are calling for the following methods: The meat should be labelled with the method of slaughter, e.g. stunned or non-stunned, so consumers are fully informed. Non-stun slaughter should only be permitted at levels that meet local religious community demand for this type of meat in the interests of limiting animal pain and suffering. The organizations call for a ban on export of meat from non-stunned animals or live animals destined for non-stun slaughter and demand an immediate post-cut stun for cattle, sheep, goats and deer to reduce the period of pain and distress.
The letter follows a recent, high profile decision to ban the slaughter of animals without prior stunning in the Flanders region of Belgium which came into force at the start of the year. Belgium joins several other European countries, including Iceland, Sweden, Switzerland and Denmark in making this decision, demonstrating that a full ban on non-stun slaughter is possible within EU law.