UK: Vets in animal welfare call over halal meat

The Herald – Scotland

UK flagVETS have called for stricter labelling of halal and kosher meat and immediate post-slaughter stunning of animals being prepared for the religious markets in a bid to improve welfare conditions.

Mr Jones said the BVA wanted to see slaughterhouse conditions improved, particularly in relation to the production of halal and kosher meat, by introducing immediate post-cut stunning.

He said: “We are grateful to the Scottish Government for consulting over these sensitive issues and we look forward to working with you to implement a solution that offers the highest levels of animal welfare, while respecting the views of certain religious communities.”

For meat to be halal – or “permissable” – under Islamic law, the animals must be slaughtered with a sharp knife, which is used to cut their throat, windpipe and blood vessels in the neck, causing the animal’s death without cutting the spinal cord. The blood from the veins from must be drained completely since blood is a carrier of bacteria and therefore considered unclean.

However, while it is standard slaughterhouse practice in the UK to administer an electric shock to daze the animal before it is killed, the practice is generally resisted as not being halal or kosher – partly from a fear the animal may be accidentally killed by a stungun.