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UK: Scottish Government admit Halal meat is illegal

| 07/09/2012 | 9 Replies

As part of their consultation on upcoming changes in animal slaughter legislation the Scottish Government have admitted that the placing of non-stunned meat slaughtered in the UK into the general food chain has been illegal since 1995.

For some time Scotland for Animals have campaigned to have slaughter without stunning banned in the UK and for the clear labelling of all such meat products.

Scientific studies have shown that animals suffer significantly higher levels of pain and stress if not stunned before killing.

The Scottish Government have claimed that the law has not been enforced due to “traceability issues”. This has been called into question by minutes recorded during meetings between Civil Servants and farming leaders who stated that with regard to the legislation it was “relatively easy to trace meat going to retailers” and that there was a problem with caterers and retailers, including those who supply hospitals and schools, providing this meat without consumers’ knowledge.

Many retailers including the sandwich chain Subway sell meat from animals killed without stunning.

Scotland for Animals spokesman John Patrick: “This confirms what Scotland for Animals have been telling authorities for years, that UK wide the law has and is being broken on a massive scale with the full knowledge of Government.”

“If animals are killed at the very least they should be insensible to pain while being slaughtered. There is no justification for an opt-out on this. Many Muslims and Jews support stunning for welfare reasons, it’s an insult to them for the Government to frame this as a human rights issue”.

“The public are being sold en masse meat sourced in the UK employing deliberately cruel methods. By turning a blind eye and not enforcing legislation authorities are betraying people and the animals involved alike.”

Scottish Govt.: “Targeting of non stunned meat to supply – WASK currently restricts religious slaughter to slaughter by the Jewish method for the food of Jews and by the Muslim method for the food of Muslims. This targeting of supply has not previously been enforced due to practical issues regarding traceability.” Consultation. “Implementation in Scotland of EU Regulation 1099/2009 on the protection of animals at the time,of killing”

The Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995 state that all animals slaughtered in the UK should be fully stunned to the point of insensibility before slaughter and until death. A dispensation exists in WASK for animals slaughtered for Halal and Kosher meat which states that these animals are not required to be stunned. Section 12.2 of the legislation states that meat from animals not stunned must only be sold/ provided to Muslims/ Jews.

Halal meat accounts for over 25% of the entire UK meat market. (Halal Food Authority)

Glasgow Central Mosque leaders have confirmed that although they oppose pre-slaughter stunning it is permitted. (Imam Habib-ur-Rahman Rauf)

Around 20% of Halal meat produced in the UK is from animals slaughtered with no form of stunning. (Food Standards Agency. June 2012). The remainder is sourced from animals are subjected to a method called “Stun-to-stun” which uses an amperage below that recommended in guidelines for an effective stun.

Scotland for Animals, the Farm Animal Welfare Committee and RSPCA have all expressed concerns regarding the effectiveness of this technique. The Halal Food Authority, who insist on this method for accreditation of suppliers have admitted that “Stun-to-stun” ensures that animals are “conscious” when killed. Halal Food Authority Slaughter Procedure

No animals slaughtered for Kosher meat in UK receive any form of stun. (House of Commons report 2012).

It is estimated that around 70% of non-stunned Kosher meat provided/ sold in the UK is not consumed by Jews. (EU Dialrel project).

The most recent study on the negative welfare implications of not stunning animals can be found here: New Zealand Veterinary Journal, vol 57, p 77

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Category: Europe, Meat & Poultry, Research, Retail, UK

Comments (9)

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  1. Elizabeth McCutcheon says:

    All our meat should be properly labelled. Sick of being conned by this halal slaughter…..I am a Christian and also have rights as to know what I am eating!

  2. Mrs J Mason says:

    We have the right NOT to eat halal food. This is our country why are we not standing up to stop this barbaric way of killing animals. I will never knowingly buy or eat halal foods .

  3. salama says:

    Yes, we would agree that the labeling of Halal products is good for all consumers, Muslim and non Muslim; including the method of slaughter if it is done without stunning, or with stunning, as the majority are stunned.

  4. Sally Arnold says:

    For goodness sake please think of these poor animals. Just because they can’t speak, we shouldn’t treat them like this. Years ago, cutting their throat was probably the kindest thing to do but we know now of more humane ways and I’m sure if Muslims really do practice kindness and empathy then they will do the right thing and move forward in being kinder human beings. No disrespect to anyone, just need more love in our beautiful world.x

  5. Ahmed says:

    @ Sally. At the end of the day you and I eat meat right? I believe if our tom, dick and harry great grandfather slaughtered and feed the nation I will stick with uncle Tom. simply because back in the days Christians practised their faith much stronger and believe the teachings of Abraham. Stunning the animal in 2016 is just business, no faith what’s so ever. I am Muslim and I prefer to eat with fellow Jewish brothers and sisters.

  6. John Davis says:

    Laws have been made in the UK for a reason, in this case to protect animals who can’t speak for themselves. Why should they suffer for some ridiculous myth?

  7. Jmac says:

    It does not specifically state that it must only be sold to muslims or jews.
    2. In this Schedule references to slaughter by a religious method are references to slaughter without the infliction of unnecessary suffering—

    (a)by the Jewish method for the food of Jews by a Jew who holds a licence in accordance with Schedule 1 (which relates to the licensing of slaughtermen) and who is duly licensed—

    (i)in England and Wales by the Rabbinical Commission referred to in Part IV of this Schedule; or

    (ii)in Scotland by the Chief Rabbi; or

    (b)by the Muslim method for the food of Muslims by a Muslim who holds a licence in accordance with Schedule 1.

  8. Martin Goodwin says:

    I am a Christian and also have rights as to know what I am eating!

  9. John Worrall says:

    If I were to visit a middle eastern country, I would be quite righty be served Halal slaughtered meat, it would be out of the question to be served meat from a fully stunned animal. Yet in Britain we allow this barbaric practice, if Jews want kosher meat, and Muslims want halal meat, then have it imported. Its time this country stopped kowtowing to other religious beliefs, in the meantime, all meat should be clearly marked, as to whether it is Halal, or Kosher.

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