Belgium’s non-stun slaughter decision shows a ban is possible in law

By Chloe Ryan, Poultry News

New legislation banning the slaughter of animals without prior stunning comes into effect in parts of Belgium.

The ban in the Flanders region of the country was put in place on New Year’s Day, following on from legislation that was passed by Belgium’s parliament in July 2017.  Similar restrictions are expected to be implemented in the country’s Wallonia region from September.

John Fishwick, Senior Vice President at the British Veterinary Association, said: “Belgium follows several other countries including Iceland, Estonia, Sweden, Switzerland and Denmark in its decision to ban the slaughter of animals without prior stunning.  This shows that there is considerable strength of feeling on the issue and that a ban would be possible within domestic law of EU member states.

“BVA would like to see all animals stunned before slaughter and this call has received widespread support from the veterinary profession and general public, including a petition with over 120,000 signatures.  Our focus on this has nothing to do with the expression of religious beliefs, but is about finding ways to reduce the welfare harm of non-stun slaughter.

“If slaughter without stunning continues to be permitted in the UK, then meat from this source must be clearly labelled, to help customers make informed choices about the food that they buy and eat.”