Educating the Veterinary Students of Tomorrow

​​Non Stun Slaughter

Non stun (Halal) slaughter is a controversial issue worldwide. This method of slaughter consists of using a sharp knife to make one swift, deep incision that cuts the front of the throat, carotid artery, trachea and jugular veins. Animals must be alive and healthy at the time of slaughter and all blood is drained from the carcass after death. Current law in the UK requires animals to be stunned pre-slaughter ensuring they are insensible to pain up until the point of death, however some exceptions are allowed for religious purposes. 

The results of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) 2018 slaughterhouse survey were released earlier this year and the BVA have responded;"the figures reveal that in 2018, over 94 million cattle, sheep and poultry were slaughtered without being stunned first. Specifically, the figures show that nearly a quarter (24%) of sheep meat that was not stunned before slaughter, was exported from the UK. This equates to around 750,000 sheep being slaughtered without prior stunning per year for consumption outside of the domestic market. The current derogation in the law that allows for non-stun slaughter for religious purposes is intended for domestic consumption only". 

The President of the BVA also said "We strongly believe that all non-stun slaughter should be banned in the UK in the interests of reducing welfare harm.  However, while it continues, the government must make moves to cease the export of non-stun meat. Allowing this practice is out of keeping with legislation designed to limit it to meet domestic demand only." And, it can be done - in 2014, Denmark’s government brought in a ban on the religious slaughter of animals for the production of halal and kosher meat, after years of campaigning from welfare activists, saying that "animal welfare must come before religion". How do you feel about this having read a bit more about the process?

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