UK: Government urged to clarify slaughter policy

BVA seeks clarity on whether lamb for export to Saudi Arabia is stunned before slaughter in accordance with the UK’s high animal welfare legislation.

By David Woodmansey,

The BVA is calling on the Government to urgently clarify whether UK lamb exported under a new trade deal

Image © Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay

with Saudi Arabia will be stunned before slaughter.

In a statement, the association said: “The BVA believes all exported meat should come from animals that have been stunned before slaughter, but there is ambiguity around the details of the deal, which UK halal certification bodies it will involve and whether the meat that will be exported will come from stun or non-stun sources.

“Defra has not yet clarified these points and, in April 2018, stated it did not hold data on what percentage of meat from non-stun religious slaughter is exported.”


The statement continued: “In the UK and Europe, all animals must be stunned before slaughter, but there is a derogation for animals killed for religious purposes. The BVA strongly believes this derogation should only apply to meet the needs of the local community.

“In Germany, the law states produce from non-stun slaughter cannot be exported.”

‘Must not compromise’

BVA president John Fishwick said: “We welcome new trade deals that demonstrate the quality of UK agriculture, but we absolutely must not compromise on animal welfare. Animals slaughtered without stunning suffer unnecessary pain at the time of death.

“If non-stun slaughter is permitted under the derogation in the UK, it should only be available for local communities and not for export.

“We have raised these issues directly with the secretary of state, Michael Gove, and asked for clarity on whether meat for export is stunned in accordance with the UK’s high animal welfare legislation.

“The BVA is calling for an end to all non-stun slaughter, but, while it is still permitted, we would like to see new laws to ban export of non-stun meat, such as those in Germany.”