A British parliamentary committee has called for a review of how halal products are labelled after issuing a report highlighting the pain animals suffer during the ritualistic slaughter, and conflicting concerns among religious groups about how stunning affects the bleed-out from carcasses.
According to Meat Info, the report by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Beef and Lamb added that further researcher was needed into whether there are methods of stunning that would be acceptable to some halal consumers.
Halal slaughter involves a Muslim killing the animal by slitting its throat with a knife, severing the cartoid artery, jugular vein and windpipe in a single swipe. The blood must then be drained from the carcass.
Although some Muslims insist that animals slaughtered in this manner must not be stunned beforehand, Britain’s Food Standards Authority estimates that 88 percent of halal meat is pre-stunned. Animal welfare campaigners are concerned that failure to stun an animal leads to it suffering unnecessary pain when it is killed.
In May, the British Veterinary Association (BVA) launched an official government petition to ban non-stun slaughter. BVA president Robin Hargreaves said: “The BVA has long held the position that slaughter without pre-stunning unnecessarily compromises animal welfare at the time of death.
“We are also concerned that meat from non-stun slaughter is entering the market unlabelled because there is no requirement to label meat and meat products with the method of slaughter.”
“The issue of non-stun slaughter continues to generate media and political interest, and rightly so,” he added.
“Scientific evidence shows that slaughter without pre-stunning compromises animal welfare; a position supported by the Humane Slaughter Association, the Farm Animal Welfare Council, the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe and the European Food Safety Authority.
“We have a moral obligation to each animal we keep: any unnecessary pain should be eliminated.”
If they reach 100,000 signatures, it will lead to a debate taking place in the House of Commons.