Scientific reports into the use – or lack thereof – of stunning
equipment prior to livestock slaughter due to religious beliefs will be
released by State and Federal Governments.
The issue of abattoirs
preparing red meat according to religious principles was discussed by
State, Territory and Federal primary industries ministers in Perth on
Friday, where ministers agreed that jurisdictions would use compatible
risk management measures to reduce adverse animal welfare outcomes.
ministerial council agreed to make public the findings of recent
scientific reviews of ritual slaughter methods, the first of which was
commissioned in 2007.
More than 99.5pc of Australia’s red meat exports in 2008 were from animals that had been stunned prior to slaughter.
animal rights groups are concerned that an increasing number of
livestock are being slaughtered without stunning due to exemptions
granted for religious reasons.
Last week Princess Alia bint
al-Hussein of Jordan, who is the sister of King Abdullah II of Jordan,
said she had written to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd saying that any
lowering of animal welfare standards in Australia for religious reasons
would be a blow to the country’s reputation and undermine progress in
the Middle East.
“Contrary to some claims, killing without stunning is not necessary under Islamic principles,” she said.
ministers have also requested further consultation with religious
organisations, meat processors, relevant regulators and animal welfare
groups on the issue.
Mr Burke said it was the role of governments to promote the most humane practices, within the spectrum of faiths in Australia.