Dear Lord Rooker
I was deeply disappointed that the Government has decided not
to implement the recommendation of the Farm Animal Welfare Council
that slaughter without prestunning should be banned in the UK.
This decision is particularly unjustifiable in the light of the
Government’s recognition that animals slaughtered in this
way are “likely to experience very significant pain and
distress.” Bearing in mind that the exemption rests on
the basis that “unnecessary suffering” is not caused
to animals, it seems untenable for the Government to continue
to support it.
I also believe that religious freedom does not justify this
practice. Practices such as polygamy, corporal and capital punishment
and genital mutilation, which are either prescribed or permitted
by religious law in other countries, are not permitted in the
UK because they are considered to be morally unacceptable. The
severe animal suffering caused by this form of slaughter makes
it equally unacceptable and the same rule should apply in this
case. Furthermore, many Muslims and Jews already accept prestunning
slaughter and many are actually vegetarian – their religious
beliefs do not oblige them to eat meat killed in this way. The
Government must not hide behind the issue of religious freedom
to avoid taking action.
The Government has stated that it will seek only minor changes
in this practice on a voluntary basis. This is a totally inadequate
response to a major animal welfare problem, affecting around
10 million animals per year. Slaughter without prestunning has
been banned in Norway, Sweden and New Zealand. It is time for
Britain to take immediate positive action to address this very
I look forward to your reply.
Yours sincerely etc