Letter to newspapers
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The Government have disappointed people who care about animal
welfare yet again - this time by refusing to ban slaughter without
stunning. Animals killed for Muslim halal and Jewish kosher meat
are exempt from the rule that ensures all animals are stunned
before being slaughtered. This is because some (though not all)
Jewish and Muslim people believe that their religions forbid
stunning. While I believe that respect for other people’s
cultures and religions is very important, the suffering faced
by these animals is unimaginable and the law should be changed
to make this practice illegal.
The Government accept that animals killed without stunning experience “very
significant pain and distress” and that it can take a calf
up to two minutes to lose consciousness after its throat is cut.
Incredibly, though, they still refuse to take action. The good
news is that over 90% of animals slaughtered for halal meat in
the UK are now prestunned but while millions more suffer in this
way we must not shy away from this problem, however difficult
and sensitive it is. Slaughter without prestunning has been banned
in Norway, Sweden and New Zealand. It is time for Britain to
take meaningful action: the Government cannot continue to sweep
this severe animal welfare problem under the carpet.
People can find out more about this campaign by contacting the
animal campaigning group Viva!, 8 York Court, Wilder St, Bristol
BS2 8QH; tel 0117 944 1000; www.viva.org.uk