UK Vets Demand Halal Meat Exports Be Banned as Saudi Arabia Trade Surges

Saudi women buy halal meat
Omar Salem/AFP/Getty

British vets are demanding the production of non-stunned slaughter meat be properly recorded, as well as calling for the amount produced in the UK to be cut as exports of the Sharia-compliant meat to Saudi Arabia have increased.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) highlighted statistics from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) showing 22 percent of sheep and goats are not stunned before slaughter in the UK – as halal and kosher requires – an increase from 15 percent in 2013.

However, religious groups in the UK do not consume all of the halal meat produced here, with the rest being sold to other groups. There is also no reliable data on how much is exported – despite it being considered cruel and inhumane by many animal rights groups including the BVA and RSPCA.

“This lack of information has been brought into sharp relief by the recent government announcement on a trade deal with Saudi Arabia that could greatly increase the exports of British lamb and other meat, some of which may be from non-stun slaughter,” the BVA explained in a statement.

Adding: “BVA believes all animals should be stunned before slaughter and has been calling for an end to non-stun slaughter in the UK for several years.

“If non-stun slaughter is permitted, BVA believes that non-stun meat should only be provided to match domestic demand and not exported for consumption.”

The body, which represents veterinary surgeons across the UK, urged the government to follow other European nations and ban the export of the product to minimise animal cruelty.

“Other EU countries that allow non-stun slaughter have measures in place to limit the export of non-stun meat to help ensure that meat killed by this method is for the domestic market.

“For example, Germany requires that abattoirs apply for a licence by defining the number of animals to undergo non-stun slaughter to meet local demand only.”

BVA President, John Fishwick, said: “The latest FSA figures suggest that a sizeable proportion of sheep and goats that are slaughtered in the UK are done so without stunning and that this seems to outstrip the requirements of the religious communities who consume meat that has been slaughtered in this way.”

Adding: “With Brexit on the horizon and in the light of announcements about export deals with non-EU countries, there is a pressing need for clarity on the quantities and destinations of exports of non-stun meat.

“While not illegal, if meat from non-stun religious slaughter is exported we consider this to be outside the spirit of the legislation which allows non-stun as a derogation from the law to meet the needs of religious communities.”

Earlier this year, Michael Gove, the environment secretary, said animal welfare will be tightened after Brexit and farming minister George Eustice said clear labelling of halal food will be investigated when the UK leaves the EU.

Currently, the meat is frequently sold to unsuspecting British consumers, such as in Pizza Express and many schools.

And, as Breitbart London revealed last year, some London hospital canteens only sell halal, leaving those who object on ethical grounds only able to eat vegetarian options.

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