13 November 2003; immediate use
Public Lobbies Parliament
To End Religious Slaughter
Campaigners raise voices against political
On Wednesday, November 19, 250 supporters of animal campaign
group Viva! will attend the House of Commons to individually
lobby their MPs for a ban on religious slaughter. Despite
a Viva! opinion poll showing that 71 percent of the population
want to see an end to the practice, and despite a call for
a ban from the Government's own advisory body, no action has
been taken. The campaigners will queue outside St Stephen's
Entrance at 1pm and carry placards and banners demanding an
end to religious slaughter.
All food animals in Britain are killed by having their throats
cut but the law requires that they are first rendered unconscious.
However, animals killed for Muslim halal and Jewish kosher
meats, can be slaughtered by this method without prestunning.
It can take a cow 60 seconds to lose consciousness after throat
cutting - a calf twice this time. Earlier this year, the Government
advisory body, the Farm Animal Welfare Council, issued a report
saying: "Such a massive injury would result in very significant
pain and distress
". FAWC described slaughter without
stunning as "unacceptable" and recommended it be
The Government has yet to respond to their recommendation.
No action was taken after the Council made a similar call
in 1985 but religious slaughter has now been banned in Norway,
Sweden and New Zealand. Approximately 10 million animals are
slaughtered in this way each year in the UK but the Government
itself keeps no record of numbers. Because the hindquarters
of animals are not considered kosher, a large proportion of
the meat slaughtered for Jewish consumption ends up, unlabelled,
in general circulation.
"Millions of animals face the horrific prospect of having
their throats cut while fully conscious every year,"
says Viva! director Juliet Gellatley, "but the Government
won't tackle this animal welfare disaster because it is seen
as a political hot potato. We've waited nearly 20 years for
action and that's long enough. Both scientific and popular
opinion are in agreement on this issue yet the Government
won't even acknowledge there's a problem. There is no need
for any animal to be slaughtered for meat but if slaughter
is going to take place, welfare rules must apply right across