Conservative Humanists very much welcomes the Government’s desire to become a “global leader” on animal welfare, setting “high standards for others across the world to follow”. Looking more specifically at the three intended bills, we believe that our proposals would fit well within the proposed Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill.
Existing legislation in the UK requires that all animals must be stunned so that they are insensible to pain, prior to slaughter. This method is considered by most veterinary and animal welfare organisations to be the most humane method of slaughter. There exists, however, and exemption to this law for animals slaughtered under halal or kosher practices, where the animals throat is cut with a sharp blade, and left to die slowly from blood loss. In practice, around 55-80% (depending on which year you take figures for) of halal meat is actually a result of stunned slaughter, as certain stunning practices meet their requirements, while all kosher meat is unstunned.
Conservative Humanists Chairman, James Baird commented “This is a great step forward by the Conservative Party on the important issue of the humane treatment of animals. It is high time that this cruel practice was outlawed in the UK once and for all.”
Conservative Humanists are calling for two measures:
- A total ban against animals being slaughtered in the UK without having been stunned so that they are insensible to pain. (removing the exemption for religious slaughters)
- The introduction of appropriate labelling (including where used in cooked meals, as allergens are) for imported meat which has been slaughtered without prior stunning.
This would preserve the rights of the various religious groups who’s teaching calls for certain methods of slaughter, while enabling the majority of UK residents to make an informed choice, and be confident that we are indeed striving to become a true global leader on animal welfare.