RSPCA renews call for non-stun meat labels

The RSPCA renewed its call for clear labelling of non-stunned meat ahead of the House of Lords debate on religious slaughter on Thursday (16 January).

The welfare group is campaigning for an end to non-stun meat, claiming that scientific research shows slaughtering animals without stunning can cause unnecessary suffering. Until then, it wants to see meat labelled clearly with production methods.

“We are calling for clear labelling, so shoppers are armed with information that can enable them to make an informed choice about whether they buy meat from animals that have not been stunned before slaughter,” said Dr Julia Wrathall, head of the RSPCA’s farm animal science department.

According to the latest results of the Food Standards Agency (FSA)’s Animal Welfare Survey, around 3% of cattle, 10% of sheep and goats and 4% of poultry in Great Britain are not stunned before slaughter. Although most animals slaughtered for the halal market are pre-stunned, none slaughtered for the kosher market were stunned before slaughter.

“The RSPCA believes mandatory labelling should be introduced so that all meat that has not been stunned is labelled and we will press for European rules on this in 2014,” said the group.

The RSPCA submitted a report on the issue to the House of Lords ahead of the debate. David Bowles, head of public affairs for the RSPCA, who wrote the report, said: “We know this is a subject our supporters feel passionately about. We share their welfare concerns and that is why we have continued to campaign for religious slaughter to be discussed at the highest possible levels.”

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