The EU Agriculture Committee has approved a proposal to update the rules on animal welfare at slaughter, giving the green light to halal poultry.
MEPs approved the principle
that animals must be slaughtered only using methods that ensure death
instantly or after stunning, except in the case of religious rituals, such as halal, for which they called for the current blanket exemption to be preserved.
an amendment calling for special labelling of products of religious
slaughter was rejected, as were calls for stunning to be made
compulsory before the animals’ throats are cut, something which
religious communities oppose.
While MEPs were in
favour of the appointment of an animal welfare officer for each
slaughterhouse, they stressed that responsibility for ensuring
compliance with the rules must lie with the operator or company, not
with an individual employee who cannot oversee enforcement of the
But to ensure small slaughterhouses remain viable, they
argued that establishments slaughtering up to 150,000 units of poultry
per year, should be exempted from this rule.
EU’s animal welfare rules are among the strictest in the world and this
sometimes leads to higher production costs and distortions of
competition with countries which are less careful in this area. MEPs,
therefore, believe the Commission should ensure that meat and other
animal products imported from non-EU countries meet European standards.
They called for inspections to be carried out in abattoirs authorised to export to the EU.
In addition, the committee highlights the need to compensate producers for the competitive disadvantage they would suffer.