2018-02-26  facebooktwitterrss

Method of Slaughter Labelling Proposal up for Discussion

A proposal for comprehensive method of slaughter labelling will be discussed by the All Party Group for Animal Welfare (APGAW) in the House of Lords on Tuesday 27th February 2018.

The proposal, which was developed by Farmwel and FAI Farms, calls for all meat to be labelled by method of slaughter not only meat from animals slaughtered without mechanical pre-stunning.


Since 2016, Farmwel and FAI Farms have consulted a diverse range of stakeholders, including MPs, members of the House of Lords, senior representatives of the British Veterinary Association and Shechita UK, as well as food and farm animal welfare campaigners. Their proposal was presented to Defra before Christmas and warmly received by farming minister, George Eustice, who has given a clear indication that the Government will consider introducing labelling after the UK leaves the European Union.

The proposal has also been well received by the Jewish community. Shimon Cohen, Shechita UKs campaign director, was reported in the Jewish News this week as saying comprehensive method of slaughter labelling was “welcomed by religious communities and animal welfare groups alike”.

ffinlo Costain, director of Farmwel, said,
“Public concern about slaughter has increased, but much debate and media coverage has centred on the issue of pre-stunning. This has not always been well informed and can be divisive. Method of slaughter labelling, including non-stun and all methods of pre-stunning, would improve consumer choice and help to ensure that retailers and restaurants are better able to respond to consumer preferences. A simple number system identifying all approved slaughter methods would be objective and helpful in driving welfare outcomes for all farm animals.

In our view, labelling should also be underpinned by robust welfare outcome measures focussed on handling, lairage, stunning, and slaughter to help improve and maintain standards. The combination of public information, science, and formalised assurance could improve the end of life outcomes for millions of UK farm animals each week.”

Over the last decade there have been several attempts to introduce slaughter labelling both in the United Kingdom and at European level. These attempts have been unsuccessful, partly because they have focussed on the issue of pre-slaughter stunning. Ongoing debate on the science of stunning, and the reasonable fear that a stunned/unstunned label may lead to the victimisation of people who support religious slaughter, has led to deadlock.

Mr Costain said,
“There is a real danger that stunned/unstunned labelling would create the inaccurate impression that slaughter with pre-stunning is always quick, clean, and humane, while in reality there are myriad challenges with several other stunning systems. It is wrong to single out challenges with religious slaughter when improvements are necessary right across the board.”


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